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Grandmother serving life sentence granted clemency

FREE: Alice Marie Johnson Photo credit: MIC

A 63-year-old grandmother jailed for 21 years on a non-violent drug charge has been released from prison after she was granted clemency by President Trump.

Alice Johnson was jailed alongside 15 others in 1996 for taking part in a cocaine distribution ring, and convicted on charges of attempted possession of drugs and money-laundering in Tennessee.

Her daughter, Tretessa Johnson set up a petition in the hopes that Donald Trump would grant her mother clemency. The Change.org petition stated: "She was one of thousands of first time, non-violent offenders who were given mandatory lengthy prison terms.

"She was sentenced as part of a larger drug conspiracy. My mother has accepted responsibility for her actions that led to her imprisonment and has used that experience to better her life and the lives of others.

"Since being incarcerated my mother has been a model prisoner who mentors women and has become an ordained minister.’ The bid for clemency was backed by prison staff, members of congress and academics.

Johnson's case was recently highlighted by Kim Kardashian West, who lobbied for her release and met with Trump last week.

In a statement announcing the commutation, the White House said that the administration remains “tough on crime” but that the president believes that individuals who have “paid their debt to society” should be allowed to return to civilian life.

The White House also said Johnson had been a model prisoner and worked hard to rehabilitate herself.

“Ms Johnson has accepted responsibility for her past behaviour and has been a model prisoner over the past two decades. Despite receiving a life sentence, Alice worked hard to rehabilitate herself in prison, and act as a mentor to her fellow inmates. Her Warden, Case Manager, and Vocational Training Instructor have all written letters in support of her clemency.

"According to her Warden, Arcala Washington-Adduci, ‘since [Ms. Johnson’s] arrival at this institution, she has exhibited outstanding and exemplary work ethic. She is considered to be a model inmate who is willing to go above and beyond in all work tasks.’” the statement reads.

The commutation means that Johnson will walk free after her conviction on non-violent drug charges in the 1990s gave her a life sentence, but the felony will remain on her criminal record.

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