Lawyer at Charles Koch Foundation-Supported Criminal Justice Reform Center Celebrates Clemency for Client Alice Johnson

Years of hard work and tireless commitment from lawyer Brittany K. Barnett, combined with high-profile advocacy from celebrity Kim Kardashian West, have resulted in a deserved commuted sentence for Alice Johnson. Following West’s recent visit to the White House, President Donald Trump granted clemency to the great-grandmother serving life without parole for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense.

“Justice has been served today, and it’s long overdue. Alice has more than paid her debt to society by serving over 21 years of a life-without-parole sentence as a nonviolent drug offender. Life in prison without the possibility of parole screams that a person is beyond hope, beyond redemption. And in Alice’s case, it is a punishment that absolutely did not fit the crime,” Barnett said. “President Trump saved Alice Johnson’s life today. We are extremely grateful and hope the President continues to use his clemency power to save lives.”

Barnett is a practitioner-in-residence with Southern Methodist University’s Deason Criminal Justice Reform Center. The Charles Koch Foundation supports this and hundreds of other programs led by scholars exploring policing, sentencing, recidivism, and other issues in the American criminal justice system.

“Barnett’s work shines a light on pressing questions about the justice of sentencing practices,” says Charles Koch Foundation director of University Relations John Hardin, PhD. “The Foundation is thankful to support those affiliated with SMU’s academic center as well as faculty across the country who are exploring and addressing the current injustices in our criminal justice system.”

Learn more about Barnett’s work here.