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Kim Kardashian West explains her 'Justice Project,' law school: I'm not doing it for publicity

Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY
Kim Kardashian West walks the red carpet before the 71st Emmy Awards.

PASADENA, Calif. – Kim Kardashian West's latest show is shining a light on a whole different kind of reality. 

Most associate the star with "Keeping Up the Kardashians," her marriage to Kanye West, her makeup line and various other Kardashian-branded businesses. But Kardashian West also has turned her attention to working on issues surrounding mass incarceration. 

President Trump granted clemency in 2018 to Alice Marie Johnson serving a life sentence for cocaine trafficking — after hearing a plea from Kardashian West in an Oval Office meeting. Since then Kardashian West has spoken about about the issue, which has culminated in her new Oxygen documentary (April 5, 7 ET/PT), "Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project." 

"It can be exhausting, frustrating, but I know that we can make a difference, and so all the criticism in the world will not deter me from what I want to do," Kardashian West told reporters at the Television Critics Association Saturday.

"I’m very used to criticism so nothing really fazes me. I’m one of those not-human souls that can really deal with it. However I really genuinely just stay focused on cases and people and am extremely compassionate.

"No, I’m not doing it for publicity," she continued. "I really do and care and spend 20 hours a week away from my family and my kids (for this)." 

The star is spending those hours away from her family pursuing a law degree, and has recently completed her first year of law school. 

"(I) aced a test recently," she said. "There’s so much behind the scenes that has never been publicized . . . . I literally do this every single day and spend time away from my work, everything else, my family, because once you get so deep into the system . . . you just can’t give up."

The two-hour documentary follows four specific cases that Kardashian West feels illuminate greater injustices within the system. 

"Every case that I choose is really personal to me and a lot of the time it’s from a letter I receive from someone on the inside that just really touches my heart and something that know moves me," she said.

"But the cases I showcase in this documentary showcase the broken aspect of our system. . . . I hope that people can be more empathetic and feel that by giving people, like those featured in the 'Justice Project' a second chance, there is no danger to our society."

Kardashian West said becoming a mother inspired her to start working on criminal justice reform. 

"I’m raising four black children that could face a situation like any of the people that I help," she said. "Just to know I can make a difference in my children’s lives and (others) by helping fix a broken system, that’s so motivating for me."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kim Kardashian West on Justice Project, law school: Not for publicity