By C. Beasley, founder of the Prison Reform Project
Kim Kardashian has no doubt been a major asset in bringing national attention to prison reform and wrongful convictions in the Black community and has been very successful in negotiating the release of several inmates from prison. However, her method must be constructively critiqued.
Although she does seem to sincerely care about the people that she is helping, she is actually hurting them in a way.
How? Well, the main method that she uses to get people released from prison is by working with a team of lawyers to get these inmates what is called a sentence reduction. This means that a person who may be serving 10 years or more in prison now only has to serve perhaps 2-4 years. However, the disadvantage in doing this is that person is ultimately admitting guilt and will still have the charges on his or her record even if they are innocent of the crime.
What Kim Kardashian does is not anything like a full pardon that would fully free the person from the crime. Even more, she seems to be doing very little to help these people file lawsuits so that they can be awarded millions of dollars to compensate for the years of their lives that they lost – not to mention the pain and suffering they dealt with.
While she is to be commended for what she does do, she must also be criticized for not fully using her status and her wealth to truly free these wrongfully convicted persons – not just from prison – but from being slaves to the system when they get out of prison.
In many cases that were not handled by Kim Kardashian, innocent Black men and women who were wrongfully convicted have been able to get millions of dollars in settlements from the city and/or the District Attorney’s office.
Many incarcerated individuals, after being released from prison, struggle to get a well-paying job and re-adapt to society as returning citizens. Even more, many of them deal with issues such as homelessness, lack of family support, and mental health illnesses like PTSD. In such cases, a monetary settlement would not necessarily solve all of these problems, but it would certainly help.
If Kim Kardashian, Meek Mills, and other celebrities that care about prison reform would focus more on this particular issue, it would be the absolute best way to really help Black and brown people in these situations. Freedom without economic compensation is a crime in and of itself.
C. Beasley is the founder and director of PrisonReform.com and JobsForExFelons.com. He himself was incarcerated for more than 20 years in a state prison. Contact him at 213-880-1341 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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