In January, we reported that Meek Mill had teamed up with Jay-Z and Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin to create a criminal justice reform organization. At a press conference introducing the new venture, the trio expressed that their goal with REFORM Alliance was advancing “criminal justice reform and [eliminating] outdated laws that perpetuate injustice, starting with probation and parole.” The organization received initial support via a diverse pool of executives that agreed to serve on its board and pledged a collective $50 million for its launch.
On Tuesday, REFORM Alliance announced its first initiative. In partnership with Pennsylvania House Representatives, the organization unveiled legislation aimed at reforming the Pennsylvania probation and parole system. Meek, Rubin, and REFORM Alliance CEO Van Jones were on hand at the Philadelphia Municipal Services Building alongside Rep. Jordan Harris (D-Philadelphia) and Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland) to introduce the bipartisan bill proposal.
According to a press release issued by the group, the legislation would prevent Pennsylvania probationers and parolees from getting engulfed in the criminal justice system for non-violent, technical probations. The proposed bill would also prevent the courts from sentencing a person to consecutive probation sentences, prevent the court from extending a person’s time on probation or parole due to nonpayment of fines and fees, and establish a system of incentives that reward good behavior.
In November of 2017, Meek Mill was sentenced to 2-4 years in prison for violating his probation on a decade-old drug and gun charge. The rapper was released from jail in April of the following year after it determined that the judge in the case had persecuted the rapper unfairly. Many felt that Meek should not have still been on parole in the first place.
“This proposed bill is the first step in changing the criminal justice system and it’s only right that we start in my home state,” Mill said. “I’ve lost too much time away from my son, my family, my friends and fans in Philly because of outdated probation laws, so I want to make sure people don’t have go through what I did.”