The beginning of Alice Marie Johnson's story is all too common.
After being convicted of a nonviolent drug offense, Johnson was sentenced to life in prison.
She'd served over two decades of her sentence before Kim Kardashian West lobbied President Donald Trump to grant her clemency, which he eventually did.
Johnson's clemency was well-deserved, but now Trump's reelection campaign is using a video of Johnson's release to present Trump as a leader in criminal justice reform.
Two Super Bowls ago I was sitting in a prison cell. Today I am a free woman and my story was featured in a Super B… https://t.co/mAffPpcGri— Alice Marie Johnson (@Alice Marie Johnson)1580688461.0
The video asserts that "President Trump got it done" when it comes to criminal justice reform, but like 16,241 other statements from him, this is completely false.
Before leaving office, former President Barack Obama made a historic order for the Department of Justice to phase out the use of private prisons, which incentivize keeping as many prisoners locked up on the slightest offenses for as long as possible. More often than not, those who bear the brunt of these cruelly harsh sentences are Black Americans and other Americans of color.
Upon entering office, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed the Justice Department move under Trump's orders. Since then, government spending on private prisons has doubled, playing a crucial part in the caging of undocumented immigrants.
Trump has routinely promoted violence against those who protest the unfair systems that see Black and Brown Americans in private prisons as means to a profit.
People began calling Trump out for his performative criminal justice reform.
This is why it’s always been a problem that a handful of celebs, guided by Van Jones, worked to make “criminal just… https://t.co/zlzD84j0AS— Bree Newsome Bass (@Bree Newsome Bass)1580688897.0
Y’all: Trump’s ad wasn’t for Black women. It was for white ones. It was a piece of propaganda designed to enable… https://t.co/DqAG0VOZjt— Leah McElrath 🏳️🌈 (@Leah McElrath 🏳️🌈)1580703068.0
Alice Johnson is one person who won early release because celebrities brought her to Trump's attention. She deserve… https://t.co/lKdnZzqnvl— Joyce Alene (@Joyce Alene)1580688242.0
Every Democrat I know is happy Alice Johnson is free. We also know: •She's only free b/c major celebrities pushed… https://t.co/PTOhbjannN— Qasim Rashid for Congress (@Qasim Rashid for Congress)1580747426.0
Still can’t get over how Trump thinks he did prison reform because he granted clemency to Alice Johnson. #SuperBowl— Brian Tyler Cohen (@Brian Tyler Cohen)1580688587.0
@CNN With no fanfare Barack Obama granted Executive Clemency to 1715 mostly low-level drug offenders! trump immedi… https://t.co/iX8bNJql3H— C’mon Man (@C’mon Man)1580694132.0
Airing a commercial applauding Donald Trump’s criminal justice record is like giving the KKK a fire safety award at a cross-burning— michaelharriot (@michaelharriot)1580704569.0
Trump is running on criminal justice reform? Really? How exactly does that square with the fact that both of his AG… https://t.co/NIYQgyaIAs— Vanita Gupta (@Vanita Gupta)1580688106.0
The nation rejoices that Johnson is finally free, but for hundreds of thousands of others, that same freedom won't come without actual criminal justice reform—reform that doesn't fit into a 30 second Super Bowl ad.