The 17 inmates released were first-time drug offenders who were associated in nonviolent charges, and yet were going to languish for life in prison. While the spotlight has been on Kim K, the real work behind the release was put in by two dedicated female attorneys who refused to give up.
It wasn't long back that multiple media companies reported that Kim Kardashian West worked towards releasing 17 prisoners who were jailed without parole for life for first-time nonviolent drug-related offenses, but the two women who did the actual work behind those cases have clarified that the media has painted the wrong picture. "Kim has always been very clear in her role. It’s the media that spins it around - not Kim. We do not care how the media is portraying it - that’s what the media does. Who cares. We need Kim’s support and the support of anyone else who wants to join this fight. We love that she is using her platform to raise awareness. We not trying to be famous, we trying to get our people free. Period," said attorney and criminal justice reform advocate Brittany K. Barnett.
In a lengthy message on her Facebook account, she clarifies, "The first and last time I will speak on it. Seriously, because the negativity from today is misdemeanor s**t and we still have lives to save. MiAngel Cody and I have BEEN doing this work for FREE. Ask any of our dozens of clients who are now free living their best lives. Both of us left six figure salary jobs and wiped out our own savings accounts to fund our work."
She goes on to say, "In 90 days TWO black women lawyers freed SEVENTEEN people from LIFE W/O PAROLE sentences - the second most severe penalty permitted by law in America. Only two of us."
Barnett and MiAngel Cody have been working to release them for free. Both left six-figure salary jobs, used their own savings to fund this work. "We attempted to get grants from these large foundations shelling out MILLIONS of dollars to other organizations but would not look our way because they so-called don’t fund 'direct services.' Our hands were full picking locks to human cages, we didn’t have time to participate in glorified begging from the nonprofit industrial complex only to be turned down," she said.
However, Kim has also played a big role in the Buried Alive Project, which was co-founded by Barnett, who is also Kim's personal lawyer. "Kim has been funding this project and (has been) a very important supporter of our 90 Days of Freedom campaign as part of the First Step Act, which President Donald Trump signed into law last year," Cody said. "We've been going around the country in courtrooms and asking judges to release these inmates," she told KCCI.
The reality TV star helps not only the lawyers but also the prisoners get home after they are released. "(Kim) has provided financial support to cover legal fees so that we can travel the country. Our relationships with our clients don't end when they are freed. (Kim) is truly dedicated to the issue. I work personally with her. We are really grateful...When people get out of prison, they might be incarcerated hundreds of miles from their families and they might need help getting home. Really important, critical things that people might not realize -- and those are things Kim is helping with, as well," Cody added.
Just got word that Matthew Charles will be coming home within 24 hours. Thank you @realDonaldTrump for signing the 1st step act. This is what true bipartisanship can accomplish. https://t.co/9EnwDSksfw— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) January 3, 2019
Cody and Barnett have nothing but respect for Kim. “People get out of prison when powerful women link arms. Brittany and I linked arms years ago, and Kim has come and linked arms, too," Cody said. "It’s about using what resources you have to shine a light on the underbelly of American injustice," she added.
Barnett provided more context about the project to free the incarcerated people when she said that "prosecutors opposed nearly every single case we had." However, they litigated in federal courts and won 'downward departures' for people who were going to languish in prison till they died. The clients they had were not eligible for relief under the First Step Act but they got them free because of their skills. "Our work in 90 days is historic. We picked some up from prison. We gave re-entry stipends. We continue to support them upon release," Barnett said.
The 17 inmates were the only ones eligible for a narrow provision allowing their cases to go back into the court under the First Step Act. The two lawyers are also launching another project called the Third Strike Project, to look at the hundreds on life sentence under the three-strike laws.
Previously, Kim had met President Donald Trump to talk about prison reforms. She had discussed the case of Alice Johnson, 63, with the President, who granted her clemency after the meeting. She is a great-grandmother who had been sentenced to life in prison in 1996 for a nonviolent drug-related crime and was not eligible for parole, reported Harper's Bazaar.
BEST NEWS EVER!!!! 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 https://t.co/JUbpbE1Bk0— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) June 6, 2018
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