Inside Kim Kardashian’s Prison-Reform Machine

“I do love that I see so many different potential candidates discussing it,” she said, the Capitol building over her shoulder looking a little dingy against the blazing white of her suit. “I will work with any administration.”

As many of us have noticed recently, it’s hard to get work done when your kids are around. So several times a week, Kardashian West would drive — or be driven by her security team — to #Cut50’s Los Angeles offices, in a nondescript, two-story building not far from her home. (That was in normal times, anyway, before she stocked an extra house she owns with food, cleaning supplies and toilet paper.) In the office, she would set up shop with her contracts or “crim law” binders and a tiny white chocolate mocha, hot, with whipped cream. She said her army green “school backpack” from Yeezy, her husband’s brand, ripped because her books were so heavy.

“I was never one to like school — honestly, I hated it,” she said. “So the fact that I love it is so shocking to me. But everything kind of pertains to me now,” like contracts, for example, which would have felt meaningless to her in college, she said. “Now, I get contracts all the time. So I read them, and I understand how to read them, and how to write them. And then criminal law, that’s just what I’m into. That’s super interesting to me.”

As an apprentice at #Cut50 (the group’s national director, Michael Mendoza, giggled as he called her “our intern”), she must do at least 18 hours of work for them each week, five of which has to be supervised. So Jessica Jackson, one of the group’s co-founders, flies to Los Angeles to study with her, where she is joined by a senior counsel at #Cut50, Erin Haney. Both women split their time between the Bay Area and Washington D.C. They settle into a room where white walls are lined with legal books, while Kardashian West takes notes in what Jackson describes as “absurdly good handwriting.” Kardashian West pays for their travel expenses, though these days, they make do with FaceTime and phone calls.

In return for Jackson and Haney’s effort, #Cut50 gets an apprentice with one of the biggest megaphones on the planet, and access to her tremendous list of contacts.

“I know my role, that I can be there at the end to push it through,” Kardashian West said. “I can also be a silent partner. I think it’s knowing when to speak out and when not to, and when to privately call,” she added. “People think you need to shout it out on social media and shame people into making decisions, but that’s not how it is.”

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