Jay Z, Meek Mill Give $50m to Free Inmates
Rappers Jay-Z, Meek Mill and sport and business leaders have pledged $50m to reform the US criminal justice system.
The rap duo partnered in the project with the Reform Alliance, which was inspired by Meek Mill’s recent stint in prison for a probation violation.
According to them, the project aims to help people who are “trapped in the system” by freeing one million prisoners in five years.
The owners of the New England Patriots and Philadelphia 76ers, Robert Kraft and Michael Rubin, are co-founders.
“To win, we will leverage our considerable resources to change laws, policies, hearts and minds,” the group says.
More than six million people can currently count themselves as part of the “correctional population” of the USA – which includes people in prisons and local jails, but is mostly made up of the more than four million people on probation or parole, according to Bureau of Justice statistics.
Meek Mill has experienced all three stages of the American justice system – probation, parole and jail – and the Reform Alliance says his case is an example of the “devastating and long-lasting effects” that can occur after one interaction with the criminal justice system.
It’s people with a similar story to Meek’s, that have been “caught up on probation and parole”, that Reform says it wants to focus on first.
Across the US, roughly a third of people on parole are black, according to Bureau of Justice statistics – something Jay-Z raised at the event.
“We want to be very clear. If someone commits a crime they should go to jail. But these things are just disproportionate and the whole world knows it,” he said.
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