Y’all remember Alice Johnson from the Republican National Convention?
In 1996, as a single mom of 5, Alice was sentenced to five concurrent life sentences without the chance of parole on a first-time non-violent drug charge. That is a ridiculous sentence for a first-time non-violent drug offense. And she never would have received this ridiculous sentence if then-Senator Joe Biden hadn’t written the 1986 drug abuse act that increased penalties for drug offenses and disproportionately targeted minorities. Obama and Biden refused Alice’s clemency plea three times, including in the final days of Obama’s administration.
President Trump reviewed her case and granted a pardon to Alice, who spoke at the Republican National Convention about the prison and criminal justice reform efforts of herself and the Trump administration.
She also attended the President’s nomination acceptance speech on the south lawn of the White House days later.
Upon exiting the grounds of the White House, Alice Johnson was immediately mobbed by rioters. In an online forum called Clubhouse, Alice described being attacked, spit on, and screamed at. Crying in fear for her safety, she had to take her heels off to defend herself from the angry mob that accosted her. She was then advised by several celebrities in the group not to publicize the details of this incident as it would hurt Biden’s campaign.
This woman spent 21 years in prison because of Joe Biden’s drug bill. She spent decades working to be a voice for positive change in prison and justice reform. She was finally afforded the chance to be that voice on a national stage. Then she was attacked by the very people who claim to be working for the same thing? Furthermore, she is expected to shut up about it?
An incredibly strong, intelligent, hardworking black woman fighting for reform and justice being attacked by a mob claiming to be fighting for reform and justice is impressive hypocrisy. But it’s not surprising.
- McDonald–Convicted with Johnson on drug trafficking and money laundering charges, has served 24 years of his life sentence. The White House said he has “an excellent record of good conduct.”
- Logan–Sentenced to nearly 30 years in prison for participating in a cocaine conspiracy. The White House said Logan exhibited “selfless acts” in prison, including assisting a prison nurse who was being assaulted by another inmate.
- Reed–A teacher sentenced to 14 years in prison for her role in a large food stamp fraud case. The White House said Reed used her teaching skills to tutor inmates while in jail and facilitate children’s programs at the prison. She will serve the remainder of her sentence in home confinement.
- Bolen–A small business owner who used his boat to transport cocaine. He was given a life sentence despite it being his first conviction and no history of violence. The White House said Bolen has completed extensive educational programs and vocational training, multiple re-entry programs, and served as a suicide companion.
- Tanner–A young boxer who got mixed up with drugs. He was sentenced to life for a first-time offense. The White House said Tanner has completed extensive educational, training, and reintegration programs and received recommendations from prison staff and the Warden.
This is an example of President Trump’s efforts toward criminal justice and prison reform, including the First Step Act. In fact, prior to the Democratic National Convention, Senator Rand Paul wrote an OpEd regarding criminal justice reform urging the American people:
“Look at the issues, the record and the facts, rather than the rhetoric and promises of the speeches. Perhaps you’ll find, as I did, that Donald Trump beats Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on these issues, and it’s not even that close.”
I admire determined women like Alice Johnson and the many influential and positive movements that work to improve our society. And if positive reform is what we want, then President Trump has shown us that he can and will affect constructive change on these issues.
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