Clemency Recipient Alice Johnson: 'I Don't Feel I Was Denied or Delayed. I Was Destined For This.'

Alice Marie Johnson's life sentence for a first-time drug offense was commuted by Trump. Now she's speaking out against mandatory minimums.


CAN-DO Clemency

Alice Marie Johnson spent 21 years in federal prison, but she doesn't consider the time wasted.

During her years behind bars, serving a life sentence without parole for her role in a drug conspiracy, Johnson became an ordained minister, wrote plays, and was a role model for countless other inmates.

"Time is a gift from God, and it's so important what you do with that time," Johnson, now free, said at the George Washington University Law School Wednesday for an event on clemency. "I know many people mourn those years I was away. My family mourned those years. I mourn the separation, but I don't mourn it in the sense that my life was useless or I had no impact."

President Trump commuted Johnson's sentence in June—the first commutation of his presidency—after a personal appeal from reality megastar Kim Kardashian, who was moved by a video detailing Johnson's case.

It was an almost unbelievable turn of luck for Johnson, who had been inexplicably denied clemency by the Obama White House despite her model conduct. Johnson said she is now dedicated to speaking out on behalf of the inmates she left behind:

I don't take freedom lightly, because this is a gift I have received. It's a miracle. I try to speak from my heart. I don't have a prepared speech. I may not have the most glowing and fancy words, but what you hear from me is straight from the heart. I don't feel that I was denied or delayed. I was destined for this. I believe the Lord has raised up my voice for such a time as this, that this is the moment he called me into to speak out, to be not just a number, to not just be someone that they read about, but a human being. It's an issue that should prick the conscious of every American citizen that sees what happened to me, to know that but for the grace of God, I could have been them, and they could have been me.

I'm thankful to be a face of hope not only for prisoners, but a face of hope for those who are free yet in prison.

As Johnson noted, and as Reason has reported, there are many, many more Alice Johnsons in prison.

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  1. Good for her. Bravo, even

  2. It was an almost unbelievable turn of luck for Johnson, who had been inexplicably denied clemency by the Obama White House despite her model conduct


    1. That was some post-racial shit right there.

    2. I’m sure Hilldawg would have been all over it, too.

  3. This is a good story. It’s refreshing to read uplifting things once in awhile.

    1. It is a rare condition, in this day and age, to read any good news on the newspaper page.

      1. Well now that theme song’s stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

  4. Yeah, her sentence was super excessive. The War on Drugs is unconstitutional bullshit anyway.

  5. You know who else Literal Hitler forgave?

    1. Literal Eduard Bloch?

  6. Facts: in February 1961 James Meridith, balked by racial collectivists from enrolling in Ole Miss wrote the DOJ saying: “America is a great county.” In September 1962, white Mississippi college students unfurled a banner protesting Meredith’s enrollment with: “A black America will lose its greatness!” After Bush asset-forfeiture policies wrecked the economy in 2007-8, Obama was elected twice. In the last summer of his 2nd term, the Republican party slogan became: “Make America Great Again!” Now, alluva sudden God’s Own Prohibitionists find and release Alice, a victimless black lady forfeited and railroaded into prison for thoughtcrime involving a plant leaf product.
    Question: Is this by any chance an election season?

    1. I don’t even think Trump knows who the fuck James Meredith is, let alone named his slogan in obscure reference to him. He’s probably all, “Oh yeah…James Meredith…that black kid from the ’60s, right? The one the Hells Angels stabbed at Woodstock. Know all about him. Tremendous event.”

  7. “It just gets to the lack of seriousness,” Acosta said on CNN. “Forget about the fact that Kim Kardashian is here at the White House today and what planet that is anything resembling normal, because it’s not.

    “She shouldn’t be here talking about prison reform. It’s very nice that she is here, but that’s not a serious thing to have happened here at the White House.”

    If anyone, ANYONE at REASON appears on t.v. with this guy or even has drinks with him, or if their kids go to his kids birthday parties, or if they use the same gym as him, well, I’m shaking to much to type right now.

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