After a campaign by the reality TV star, Judith Negron, Crystal Munoz, and Tynice Hall were granted clemency by Donald Trump
In a sentence I never thought I’d write, Kim Kardashian has once again visited Donald Trump at the White House to talk about prison reform. The reality TV star first traveled to Washington in 2018 to ask the president to grant clemency to Alice Marie Johnson, who was sentenced to life without parole after being convicted of a first-time drug offense in 1997. Now, Kim K has introduced him to three other prisoners he’s freed: Judith Negron, Crystal Munoz, and Tynice Hall.
The reality star has reportedly helped free 17 federal prisoners in the last three months, after she was involved in funding the 90 Days of Freedom Campaign – a response to Trump’s signing of the First Step Act, which allows some people imprisoned on federal drug offences to seek reductions to their sentences.
In July last year, Kardashian – who’s now studying to be a lawyer – announced that she was working on a documentary about prison reform. This January, the reality star confirmed that her doc, called Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project, would be out on April 5. The two-hour film will follow Kardashian as she attempts to “secure freedom for Americans who she believes have been wronged by the justice system”. She said at the time: “There are millions of people impacted by this broken justice system, and I wanted to put faces to these numbers and statistics.”
Discussing the most recent cases on Twitter yesterday, Kardashian said: “President Trump commuted the sentences of three really deserving women. I didn’t hear much about it in the news, so I wanted to share with you their stories!” Posting on behalf of her dad – who’s too preoccupied with the current election – Ivanaka Trump shared a photo of the women, with the caption: “At the recommendation of @AliceMarieFree, @KimKardashian, and the @cut_50 team, these three mothers were granted clemency by @realDonaldTrump last month and are already using their second chance to pay it forward!”
Below, we tell the stories of the three women recently freed by Kim K.
48-year-old Judith Negron was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2011 for aiding a $200 million (£155 million) fraud case. In a Change.org petition started by her sister, Negron writes that she is a “mother, daughter, sister, and wife”, and “a first time, non-violent, white collar offender”. Before her conviction, Negron worked for a company involved in a scheme that billed Medicare – a national health insurance program in the US – for group mental health sessions that were either unnecessary or not provided to patients. At the time, Negron – who was the vice president of a subsidiary of the company – maintained her innocence and was the only defendant to refuse a plea deal and go to trial. According to her, she was initially charged with a single count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, which carried a maximum sentence of 10 years, but says that “after all the dust settled” she was hit with 23 additional charges. “Based on my ignorance and my lawyer’s advice, I went to trial,” she explains. “Most of the government’s witnesses were my co-defendants, and because of their cooperation against me, they received lower sentences and I received one of the highest.”
Negron says that her sentence – which makes her one of the highest sentenced women in history under this offense type – “equates to that of terrorists, murderers, rapists, and other violent offenders”. The mother of two goes on to discuss her devastation at missing her boys – who were seven and 11 at the time of her conviction – grow up, and lists her achievements during incarceration, including taking a number of classes, engaging in rehabilitative programs, and maintaining employment in prison. She concludes discussing what she would do if granted clemency. “I plan to utilise this experience to bring awareness to society of the urgent need for support groups that can properly address the serious consequences that our children face as a result of the stigma that comes with being ‘children of incarcerated parents’.”
Speaking of Negron’s case, Kardashian tweeted: “Wardens and staff alike spoke glowingly of the incredible contributions Judith made to the prison while incarcerated.”
Judith Negron was sentenced to 35 years in prison for conspiracy to commit health care fraud. After trial she received the longest sentence ever given to a female for a white collar crime. A mother, she left behind two young sons. This was Judith’s first ever offense. pic.twitter.com/4dQHJikOjp— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 4, 2020
In 2007, Crystal Munoz was arrested for conspiring to distribute marijuana. According to NBC News, Munoz asserted that her only role was drawing a map that others allegedly used when moving the drugs from Mexico to Texas. A Change.org petition written by her husband says that she was “arrested based on the word of individuals who were seeking a sentence reduction”, adding that “no drugs were seized from her personally”. The 40-year-old spent 12 years in prison, where she gave birth to her second daughter – Munoz was reportedly shackled during the delivery. Writing about Munoz’s case on Twitter, Kardashian said: “Crystal’s case was highlighted in the First Step Act which banned the degrading and inhumane treatment of shackling female prisoners during childbirth.”
In the petition’s description, her husband concludes: “I’ve been raising our two girls and it has not been easy. They need their mother. I have yet to meet such a strong, loving, and trusting person in my whole life. She continues to encourage me and teach me to this day. If I could trade places with her, I would. After 10 years in prison, I believe Crystal deserves mercy.”
Crystal Munoz was sentenced to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to posses & distribute marijuana. She left behind a five month old baby & was pregnant. Crystal was shackled by prison guards during the birth of her second daughter. Her case was highlighted in the First Step Act. pic.twitter.com/8iVyEeoMTT— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 4, 2020
Tynice Hall was convicted on drug charges in 2006 when she was a 22-year-old mother-of-one, after an investigation into her boyfriend led the police to finding a large amount of drugs at their home. Writing on a Change.org petition for her clemency, the 36-year-old said: “When I was 19 years old, I made the colossal mistake of being romantically involved with a man who was living a criminal lifestyle by distributing illegal drugs.” Hall says she “turned a blind eye” to her boyfriend’s criminality, but admitted that she “reaped the financial benefits of the illegal drug trade”. She goes on to explain that federal agents kicked in her door while she was home alone, and because the house was in her name, she was convicted for possession of the drugs and also two guns that were found on the property. “Although my involvement was minimal,” Hall says, “conspiracy law held me accountable for all the illegal conducts, making me equally culpable as my co-defendant, who actually peddled the illegal drugs”.
Hall goes on to discuss how she’s spent her incarceration, revealing that she’s graduated from culinary school, acquired apprenticeships in housekeeping, baking, and cooking, and led anger management classes. “If I am granted clemency,” Hall continues, “my plan is to successfully reintegrate into society by accomplishing the many goals I have set for myself.” She says she wants to utilise the sociology degree she’s working on to help at-risk youths, and work full-time to support her family. On Twitter, Kardashian backed up Hall’s aspirations, writing: “Tynice rehabilitated herself and prepared for a future outside of prison by completing numerous classes and becoming certified in various trades.”
“This life altering mistake has taught me that my life is more valuable than the price I was willing to pay for a man’s love,” Hall concludes. “I’ve lived with an enormous amount of guilt, but at the same time, that guilt has been motivation for me to reveal my true character and the woman I have become. I’ve shown that my mistakes may have knocked me off course, but they haven’t deterred me from the outcome of what my future holds upon my release.”
Tynice Hall was sentenced to 35 years in prison for a first time non violent drug conspiracy. Her boyfriend at the time used her house for his illegal drug activities. She was only 22 years old when she went to prison and left behind a 3 year old son. pic.twitter.com/Miu2JIiU6N— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 4, 2020