Trump commuted Alice Johnson's sentence after meeting with Kim Kardashian.
President Donald Trump commuted the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, and it's big news.
Johnson has been serving a life sentence as a first-time, nonviolent drug offender, a case that many say highlights the inequality of the criminal justice system. Johnson was a central talking point for prison reform advocates — a petition asking for her clemency received more than 200,000 signatures.
A week after Kardashian West visited Trump to ask for Johnson's pardon, the White House announced that Trump was commuting Johnson's case, meaning she'll soon leave prison and return to civilian life.
There's real momentum behind prison reform, but the work isn't over.
At a time when Democrats and Republicans seem split on virtually every issue, the topic of prison reform is a rare case where there has been some bipartisan unity.
Of course, there's also a lot more work to be done — on both sides of the aisle.
A prison sentencing reform bill recently passed the Republican-controlled House but faces an uncertain future in the Senate. Meanwhile, activists have taken considerable heat for lobbying Trump directly on the issue, but they say the need for justice reform overrides partisan reservations about Trump.
There is also criticism of the current reform bill, with progressive activists split over whether it's worth supporting a flawed piece of legislation some say doesn't go far enough. Some advocates argue that "incremental progress" is worth fighting for, particularly on an issue that has been stagnant for so long.
Kardashian West herself acknowledged there's so much more work to be done — something she plans to stay directly involved in.
Still, the commuting of Johnson's sentence earned a lot of praise, even from some of Trump's biggest critics.
Kardashian West was mocked by some for her White House visit, but she was working for a good cause and deserves respect.
In the days that followed Kardashian West's visit to the White House, both she and Trump were relentlessly mocked.
Some of that is understandable: Two reality TV stars with decidedly imperfect track records meeting to discuss a vital issue like prison reform is ... unusual.
On the other hand, Kardashian West is a major celebrity. Every decision she makes in public or private has real consequences. She took a risk to her public reputation and her financial bottom line by meeting with Trump.
And now Johnson is free. No matter what you might think of Kardashian West as a celebrity, she deserves respect for that alone.
Her critics should be taking notes. If you're going to engage in "Trump diplomacy," this is how it's done.
And hopefully she'll continue using her massive influence to help other people like Johnson get a second chance in life.