Television personality Kim Kardashian has reportedly freed 17 inmates in 90 days after funding a secret criminal justice campaign known as the Buried Alive Project, according to The Daily Mail. Working alongside attorney Brittany K. Barnett, the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star helped to free prisoners serving long sentences for low-level offenses.
The reality star began her criminal justice efforts in June of 2018 with Tennessee grandmother Alice Marie Johnson, a nonviolent offender who was serving a huge sentence for a drug offense. The 38-year-old mother of three and soon to be four petitioned President Donald Trump to pardon Johnson and was successful after meeting with him at the White House.
Johnson’s case attracted worldwide attention for revealing how strict federal guidelines can lead to unfair and excessive prison sentences.
Since the pardoning, Kardashian’s funding of the project has led to the alleged release of 17 inmates serving time for low-level drug offenses.
As only some of the releases have been publicized, it wasn’t known until recently how many inmates have been freed in total thanks to Kardashian’s efforts. Last week, the aspiring lawyer announced the release of Jeffrey Stringer, a man who served 21 years and was facing a life sentence for a low-level drug case.
I made it my mission to fund cases of people who are so deserving & no words can describe witnessing someone set to die in prison get their life back. I’m honored to support @buriedaliveproj & their life saving work!— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) February 27, 2019
In a Twitter post about Stringer’s release, Kardashian wrote, “He served too much time but it gives me so much joy to fund this life saving work.”
Other inmates who have been released through the project include Terrence Byrd, Jamelle Carraway of Illinois, and Eric Balcom from Florida. Byrd served 25 years for drug possession charges before his release while Balcom and Carraway were facing a life sentence without parole due to drug charges.
Kardashian and Barnett’s work led to Donald Trump enacting the First Step Act, which allows nonviolent offenders the chance for early release based on good behavior that earns them credits over time.
Matthew Charles, who served 20 years of a 35-year sentence for nonviolent drug and weapon charges, was released from prison under the First Step Act.
It started with Ms. Alice, but looking at her and seeing the faces and learning the stories of the men and women I’ve met inside prisons I knew I couldn’t stop at just one. It’s time for REAL systemic change pic.twitter.com/kdKr8s6lJW— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) September 5, 2018
As a result of Kardashian’s work and contact with the criminal justice system, she is currently pursuing a law degree after registering with the California state bar. She must complete 60 college credits and work as an apprentice at a law firm to be qualified to take the bar exam, a goal she has set for 2022.
In a recent episode of KUWTK, Kardashian discussed her goals as a lawyer.
“My dad always taught me that hard work is really important and to really commit to things, so my goal would be in like, 10 years, to give up being Kim K and just focus on this and be an attorney and fight for so many deserving people.”