Kim Kardashian West has made headlines in the past year for her efforts to reform the prison system in America. Rather than simply using her platform to speak up about the issue, the 38-year-old has recently signaled that she intends on using her fortune to contribute to the cause. Kardashian met with Donald Trump in May 2018 to secure a pardon for 62-year-old Alice Marie Johnson, who was handed a life sentence for a first-time non-violent drug offense. She followed up on her initial success by meeting with the president a second time to discuss fairer sentencing laws in September, in addition to the efforts she exhibited in July by visiting women's prisons in California.
In December 2018, Congress passed the First Step Act, a bipartisan effort that attempts to ease mass incarceration in America, provide reduced sentencing opportunities for non-violent offenders, and decrease recidivism rates. One of the former inmates who has benefited from this bill is Matthew Charles, who was granted clemency earlier this year after serving 21 years for a non-violent drugs and weapons charge.
Charles was initially sentenced to 35 years in prison in 1996 for drug trafficking charges. In 2016, he was released following the passage of the Fair Sentencing Act, which eliminated the five-year minimum sentencing for first-time possession of crack-cocaine charges. However, Charles returned to prison in 2018 after the U.S. Attorney repealed his initial release on account of him being a repeat offender. Kardashian initially heard about Charles' case on Twitter and subsequently channeled her criminal justice efforts to advocate on his behalf.
When Charles was granted clemency, he was repeatedly denied housing due to his criminal record. After hearing about his hardships, the reality star offered to cover his rent payments for the next five years.
Tim Hardiman, a senior producer at CMT in Nashville, shared the news with Us Weekly. "Kim reached out privately to Matthew yesterday after hearing he was having a hard time getting approved for an apartment and has generously offered to pay five years of his rent," Hardiman said. "He was overwhelmed by Kim’s offer and graciously accepted. Her generosity will allow him to save enough money to eventually put a down payment on a house. It’s truly changed his life."
Charles took to Facebook to thank Kim for her generosity, acknowledging that her intentions were not rooted in publicity. "Kim did not do this for attention or publicity, but I had to share it, because it's too good not to," he wrote. "And my heart is about to burst with happiness, that I wish you to rejoice in this news with me."
Kardashian has not posted about the news or her thoughtful efforts on her social media channels.