Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian credits Naomi Campbell for her recent dress designs. In Picture: US media personality Kim Kardashian West arrives to attend the amfAR Gala New York at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on February 6, 2019. Getty Images/ANGELA WEISS

Reality television star Kim Kardashian spoke at the White House on Thursday, thanking President Donald Trump for his efforts in December in signing the First Step Act, a bipartisan deal to overhaul federal sentencing laws, and to promote benefits for former inmates.

Kardashian was joined in the East Room with Trump and supporters of the First Step Act, to discuss a new ride-sharing partnership that will give former prisoners gift cards to get to job interviews.

“I’m so happy to announce today that we have a ride-share partnership, where formerly incarcerated people will be gifted gift cards so that they can get rides to and from job interviews, to and from jobs, [and to] family members. And that is so important, so needed,” Kardashian said.

Neither Kardashian nor Trump elaborated on the ride-share partnership.

Trump praised Kardashian for her efforts and added, “I guess she’s pretty popular.”

Kardashian’s involvement stemmed in large part from meeting Alice Marie Johnson, a 64-year-old African American woman who spent two decades in prison for her nonviolent involvement in a Memphis cocaine trafficking organization.

Kardashian, who is married to rapper Kanye West, said learning of Johnson’s journey through the criminal justice system inspired her to become a proponent of criminal justice reform and to study for the California State Bar exam, which she plans to take in 2022. She also wrote the foreword for Johnson’s new book, After Life: My Journey From Incarceration to Freedom, published by Harper Collins last month.

Kardashian, who doesn't have a bachelor's degree, can take the bar exam without attending law school. If she passes, she can practice law in California, which is one of four states that allow the practice. Trump said that Kardashian, whose late father was an attorney, is "going to be one of the most successful lawyers."

Trump commuted Johnson’s sentence after Kardashian reached out to his daughter, Ivanka, with whom she had had a longtime relationship. Learning of Johnson’s plight was in part impetus for the First Step Act that seeks early parole for nonviolent offenders and places them in halfway houses and other services to assist returning them to society.

Before her 21 years behind bars, Johnson had worked for FedEx in computer operations and customer service. She pushed for equal treatment of women and people of color and was instrumental in policy changes at the company.

She later developed a gambling addiction and was unable to return the money she was advanced at work, leading to her dismissal. After struggling to find other work, she got involved in drug trafficking by passing along information by phone between parties.

There has been increased attention to the plight of those like Johnson, as many people of color are considered to be more vigorously prosecuted and receive harsher sentencing in comparison to white criminals. Studies show people of color, particularly black men and woman, are disproportionately charged with crimes and receive longer sentences, which accounts for why African Americans comprise more than 60% of the nation’s nearly 2.3 million incarcerated population.

Over 1,000 federal inmates have had their sentences reduced in the first four months of the First Step Act, according to a recent report by the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Sentences were reduced by an average of 73 months.