Defendants in the United States can face serious criminal charges for controlled substance offenses, which is why it is so essential to be represented by an Albany drug crime lawyer if you have been accused of a drug offense. In some cases, defendants are sentenced to decades in prison or even life imprisonment for drug-related offenses.

Recently, one older woman who had been sentenced to life imprisonment was granted clemency after she had spent almost 22 years in prison. She was allowed to go home to her family after President Trump commuted her sentence thanks to lobbying efforts by Kim Kardashian West.

Woman Sentenced to Life Imprisonment for Drug Offenses Has Sentence Commuted

According to the New York Times, Alice Marie Johnson has been imprisoned since 1996 after she was convicted of crimes involving money laundering and cocaine. Johnson was a single mother of five children who experienced financial problems and who became involved in a criminal drug ring.

She was arrested for relaying messages for an operation that was responsible for transporting cocaine from Houston to Memphis, and she was convicted of numerous offenses that resulted in the woman being sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. The offenses that she was sentenced for were non-violent drug offenses and several of the co-defendants who testified against her ended up only being sentenced to probation or to maximum prison sentences of just 10 years.

Johnson became a symbol of the movement for criminal justice reform, as she was a model prisoner over her 21.5 years of imprisonment. She completed educational and vocational programs in prison, she aided prisoners who were ill or dying, and she provided assistance in coordinating events such as the Special Olympics held within the prison. However, even as she became a grandmother and great-grandmother, she had no hope of getting out of prison until her case became a famous one and Kim Kardashian West took up her cause and lobbied President Trump to commute her life sentence so she would have hope for the future.

President Trump ultimately did take action, commuting her sentence so Johnson was able to leave the prison and rejoin her family.

While Johnson has now been allowed to go home, the ACLU has expressed concern that there are still many thousands of people imprisoned due to overly harsh sentencing laws who have been behind bars for decades and whose plight is also worthy of attention by lawmakers.  It remains to be seen if criminal justice reform will pass to avoid these outcomes in the future or if President Trump will take broader action to provide relief to more people who are imprisoned.

Unfortunately, not everyone can count on the president taking action on their behalf and it is uncertain when or if reforms to the justice system will be passed. Fighting for your future within the current system is essential and an Albany drug crime lawyer can provide the help and support you need when you are charged with a serious offense.