The White House said she had been a model prisoner and worked hard to rehabilitate herself.
"I hope to continue this important work by working together with organizations who have been fighting this fight for much longer than I have and deserve the recognition", she concluded. Indeed, Trump has called for getting tougher on drug dealers, including suggesting some should receive the death penalty. Johnson apologized for her involvement with drug dealers, but noted that she had only done it out of desperation, and that the law under which she had been sentenced had been changed since her sentencing.
Unlike a pardon, the commutation will not erase Johnson's conviction, only end her sentence. In 1996, she was sentenced to life in prison without parole. "I'm grateful to the president for allowing Alice to go home after 21.5 years in prison and to Kim Kardashian for her advocacy on Alice's behalf". The reasons are unclear. After her marriage fell apart, she lost her son in an accident, and she lost her job, Johnson became involved with a drug ring that transported and distributed cocaine. She was tried on charges of cocaine conspiracy and money-laundering charges.
In a statement, the White House noted that Johnson was a great-grandmother who had served nearly 22 years for a first-time offense. She applied to the Obama administration for early release but didn't get it.More news: Tetris Effect Announced for PS4 and PlayStation VR by REZ Creator
She said: 'I would like to thank President Trump for his time this afternoon. "I'm a broken woman".
Trump has so far taken a more hardline approach, advocating a "lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key" approach to criminal justice.
But last week Kardashian West was spotted meeting with President Trump at the White House, on Johnson's birthday, to discuss prison reform and make a plea for her release. Trump told Kardashian during their Oval Office meeting that she and her husband were boosting his popularity with African-Americans, according to two people familiar with the matter.
In statements made after the White House announcement, Kardashian voiced her appreciation for the move, and said she was the one to deliver the news to Johnson. Through the Buried Alive Project, Byrd said she wants to tell the story of more prisoners who she believes deserve to live their lives outside of prison walls. "I can't wait to get back on the workforce. and get back to my community".
Last month, Trump posthumously pardoned boxer Jack Johnson. In May, he also suggested he was considering acting to commute the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is serving 14 years in prison for corruption, and celebrity homemaker Martha Stewart, convicted of insider trading.
Trump, who has controversially tweeted about his ability to pardon himself, has upended the traditional pardon process.