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Kim Kardashian West is continuing to use her name and resources to call for change in the criminal justice system.
Oxygen just unveiled the trailer for Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project, a two-hour documentary about Kardashian West’s mission to address the criminal reform crisis and secure freedom for Americans she believes have been wronged by the system, who are facing life sentences with no possibility of parole.
In the trailer, Kardashian West, who is also an executive producer, is seen listening to the stories of people who have spent more than 20 years behind bars and whose current sentence means they will never get a second chance. One woman was molested as a child and was arrested when she was still a child, and one man has been imprisoned for 23 years, since he was 16.
“People deserve a second chance” Kardashian West says.
Kardashian West was on hand at the TV Critics Association winter press tour on Saturday to talk about the documentary, and quickly answered a question about those who might think she’s just doing this for publicity.
“I’m very used to criticism so nothing really phases me,” she said. “I’m one of those non-human souls that can really deal with it. However, I really genuinely just stay focused on the cases and the people, and am extremely compassionate, and no, I’m not doing it for publicity. I really do care, and spend 20 hours a week away from my family and my kids, every single day.”
She revealed that she just finished her first year of law school, meaning she has three more years of study and apprenticing before she can take the bar exam. That study requires 20 hours a week.
“I talk to my kids about it and they’re extremely young,” she said when asked if she felt like younger viewers should tune in. “When I do go on a prison visit or when I go to the White House, I do explain to them and even to my younger sisters. I’m so proud of the younger generation for really being so knowledgable and caring so much, and I would absolutely…because I personally feel like I had my own awakening after I had kids and I was a little bit older, I hope that through my stories and seeing people, the younger generation can be aware at a younger age.”
Kardashian West was asked if she had been thinking about getting involved in a cause like this for a while, and she said she had always been interested in law having grown up with her father, Robert Kardashian.
“I think subconsciously having lived in a home with my attorney father who made me sign a contract for everything…I think that by the time I was a teenager and he was working on the [O.J. Simpson] case and I was sneaking in his office and looking at all of the evidence and things I should have been looking at, to just the day I happened to be on twitter and see a video pop up of Alice Johnson…maybe it was in my soul for years that it was what I wanted to do. It didn’t take me years to think about wanting to help someone when I saw Alice Johnson’s face.”
“I believe as you grow older, you have children…I’m raising four black children that could face a situation like any of the people that I help and so just to know that I could make a difference in my children’s lives and their friends’ lives and their children’s lives by helping to fix a broken system,” she continued.
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She explained that with this documentary, she wanted to show a side of the story that doesn’t often get shown on TV. You see the cops trying to solve a murder or a crime, but you don’t see it from the perspective of the person who did it (especially when they’re not an evil serial killer).
“I think it’s really important. There really are two sides of every story, and I was never that type of person to believe that,” she said. “I was always so, ‘they should be locked up forever,’ and never wanting to hear their story, and since I would go to prison after prison and sit down with these people and hear their stories, I realized there’s a whole other side that is never being shown on TV, and so that’s why I really wanted to partner [with Oxygen] and do a documentary that shared a completely different perspective and mindset.”
“I partnered with Oxygen to do the Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project documentary because there are millions of people impacted by this broken justice system, and I wanted to put faces to these numbers and statistics,” said Kardashian West, Executive Producer, in a statement. “There are a lot of people who deserve a second chance, but many do not have the resources to make it happen. I want to help elevate these cases to a national level to effect change, and this documentary is an honest depiction of me learning about the system and helping bring tangible results to justice reform.”
Per Oxygen, in Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project, after hearing the story of Alice Marie Johnson, a great-grandmother serving a life-plus-25-year sentence as a first-time nonviolent offender, Kim Kardashian West embarked on a road to advocacy as she campaigned for criminal justice reform and helped convince the White House to grant Alice clemency in June 2018. The show captures Kim as she lends a hand to right injustices and advocate for change by exploring the cases of Dawn Jackson, Alexis Martin, Momolu Stewart and David Sheppard, all of whom she and the legal experts she is working alongside believe have been unfairly sentenced. The documentary follows the origins of their individual stories, revealing the devastating circumstances that led them to take the actions that changed their lives forever. In her crusade to shed light on the criminal justice system and help people who are impacted by incarceration, Kim travels to the prisons, speaks to the families and friends, lobbies public officials, and consults with lawyers as well as her own legal team from #cut50 to develop strategies to facilitate their release. Along the way, the film documents the progress that led to Momolu Stewart’s and David Sheppard’s releases. It also highlights Kim’s growing understanding of mandatory sentencing, the damaging problems of mass incarceration, and the importance of educational programs and rehabilitation efforts for a successful reentry into society.
Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project airs Sunday, April 5 at 7 p.m. on Oxygen.
E! and Oxygen are both part of the NBC Universal family.