Nearly seven months after being released from prison in Pennsylvania, Meek Mill is speaking out about the state of the criminal justice system and the pain it causes those get caught in it.
“The system causes a vicious cycle, feeding upon itself—sons and daughters grow up with their parents in and out of prison, and then become far more likely to become tied up in the arrest-jail-probation cycle,” Meek wrote in an op-ed at The New York Times on Monday. “This is bad for families and our society as a whole.”
Mill, 31, who has since become an advocate for prison reform, told his version of the story about how he was arrested for a probation violation and subsequently sent to prison on a 2-to-4 year sentence for what he called a “technical violation.”
— Van Jones (@VanJones68) November 26, 2018
“It’s a shame that model probationers can be immediately put back behind bars simply for missing curfew, testing positive for marijuana, failing to pay fines on time or, in some cases, not following protocol when changing addresses,” Meek said. “Our lawmakers can and should do away with these “technical violations.
Meek also focused on holding lawmakers accountable and directly addressed the elephant in the room: Race plays a factor in so many probation violators going to jail.
“We all need to hold our lawmakers accountable for supporting unfair or inhumane policies and all practices that perpetuate injustice, especially for the Blacks and Latinos who fall prey to them most frequently,” he writes in the piece. “The reality is African-Americans and Latinos who come from poverty-stricken neighborhoods are assigned public defenders too overburdened to do anything in most cases other than negotiate the most favorable plea deal, regardless of guilt or innocence.
“Above all, we need to make sure punishments actually fit crimes,” he added. “Mine certainly didn’t. But I am choosing to see my situation in a different light, to see that I’m incredibly fortunate. A higher power has put me in a position to help fix this—to help clean up this persistent stain on our society.”