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5 things to know about Alice Marie Johnson

The woman whose life sentence President Donald Trump commuted on Wednesday spent more than two decades behind bars for a first-time, non-violent drug offense.

Alice Marie Johnson, 63, was championed last week by reality TV star Kim Kardashian West during a meeting with the president.

Johnson has served 22 years behind bars as part of a life sentence without parole.

On May 30, Johnson spent another birthday in prison while West went to the White House to advocate for her release.

News of commutation was met with celebration by many on Wednesday.

“So grateful to @realDonaldTrump, Jared Kushner & to everyone who has showed compassion & contributed countless hours to this important moment for Ms. Alice Marie Johnson. Her commutation is inspirational & gives hope to so many others who are also deserving of a second chance,” West tweeted.

Criminal justice advocate Shaun King shared his support of the decision while urging other stars to use their platform.

“It appears we now need Kim Kardashian and other famous celebrities to tell Trump about the thousands of others with stories just like that of Alice Johnson,” King said in a tweet.

Here are five things to know about Alice Marie Johnson:

1.) She was serving a life sentence for various charges, including cocaine conspiracy. 

In 1993, Johnson was arrested and accused, along with 15 others, on multiple drug and money laundering charges. In 1996, she was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

2.) Her family has been consistently fighting for her release. 

A few years ago, her daughter Tretessa Johnson started an online petition for her mother’s freedom.

“My mother has accepted full responsibility for her actions and used that experience to better her life and the lives of others. Since being incarcerated she has been a model prisoner who mentors women and has become an ordained minister,” she wrote.

Following the commutation, Johnson told MSNBC that this clemency is “saving her life.”

Johnson’s sister Coria Williams told Mic that she’s “hoping that this is not a dream” and that “prayer does work.”

3.) She credits her faith for sustaining her throughout her sentence. 

“It’s hard to keep the hope of freedom alive for that long. But my faith in God has carried me this far,” Johnson wrote in an op-ed for CNN in 2016.

4.) Johnson said her life began to “spiral out of control” following a divorce from her high school sweetheart and the death of her child. 

“After almost two decades together and a tumultuous relationship, my husband and I divorced in 1989. It was during this time that my life began to spiral out of control. I lost my job — and — then my youngest son was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident…I made some poor decisions out of desperation,” Johnson wrote .
5.) Last year, she made a plea for her release while advocating for prison reform. 
“If I could back in time and change the choices that I made and make different choices, I would but I can’t….but I have not allowed my past to be the sum of who I am…Please wake up America and help end injustice,” she said.