Over the last few years, Kim Kardashian has begun using her platform as a reality star to advocate for criminal justice reform, working to free individual people from jail and fighting for policies to end mass incarceration. Now, she is taking another significant step to provide assistance for current and formerly imprisoned people. As reported by HuffPost, Kardashian is partnering with Lyft to give ride credits to people who were once incarcerated so that they can get to and from job interviews.
Kardashian announced the partnership during a visit to the White House for a Second Chance Hiring and Re-Entry event on Thursday, June 13. “Everyone wants the community to be safe, and the more opportunity we have and that they have and the support that we help give them, the safer everyone will be," Kardashian told a room of reporters, referring to people who were recently incarcerated.
Before arriving at the White House, Kardashian posted a series of tweets that explained her decision to partner with Lyft and introduce the initiative. In her posts, the star stated that while she's "been able to offer support to some of the individuals I have met, the obstacles to success are an everyday struggle for thousands and more needs to be done."
In 2018, the star famously helped lobby for the release of Alice Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old woman who was sentenced to life in prison for a first time non-violent drug offense. In May, it was reported that Kardashian has also helped free 17 non-violent offenders who qualified for release under the FIRST STEP Act, which was signed into law by President Trump last year, by funding a prison reform campaign. The act works to shorten prison sentences for non-violent offenders, and since December, 1,000 prisoners have benefited from shortened sentences thanks to the act, according to the New York Times.
Now, with her Lyft partnership, Kardashian will potentially be able to assist many people at once, rather than just on a case-by-case basis. The complete details on how the program will work have not yet been released, but the concept addresses a problem that affects countless people who have recently been incarcerated — getting to and from job interviews and other work events. Often, when someone is released from jail or prison, their access to resources is extremely limited, so having free ride-sharing credits could make a huge difference.
After the announcement on Thursday, Ivanka Trump posted a photo to her Twitter account thanking Kardashian for her "passionate advocacy" for criminal justice reform.
Kardashian and Lyft's program brings attention to the general issues with finding work for formerly incarcerated people. Traditional hiring practices often overlook applicants who have been convicted of crimes, and the lack of jobs available contributes to the rate of recidivism for people who have been incarcerated, according to the National Institute of Justice. Part of the FIRST STEP Act addresses the needs of people re-entering society, including second chance hiring for those with criminal convictions, but far more work needs to be done in this regard. Kardashian and Lyft's partnership is certainly a great start.