Meek Mill, Van Jones introduce Philadelphia probation reform measure
"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,” Meek Mill said in a prepared statement.
Meek Mill was joined by REFORM Alliance co-chairs Van Jones and Michael Rubin at the Philadelphia Municipal Services Building on Tuesday, where he proposed a new bipartisan measure to reform the state’s probation and parole system, according to a news release.
The legislation seeks to prevent parolees and probationers from getting trapped in the the criminal justice system for non-violent offenses. It also focuses on reforming technical violations similar to what landed Mill back in jail in November 2017, over a nearly decade-old gun and drug case, REFORM Alliance noted in the release.
“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,” Meek said in a prepared statement.
His home state boasts the second highest percentage of folks on probation and parole in the U.S. and the highest incarceration rate in the western hemisphere, the release 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“I’ve lost too much time away from my son, my family, my friends and fans in Philly because of outdated probation laws, so I want to make sure people don’t have go through what I did,” Meek continued.
REFORM Alliance’s efforts with the Pennsylvania House of Representatives have received the support for advocates on both sides of the reform conversation. But Meek noted, “I hate that it had to be me, a public figure and a rapper, to go to jail for it to become an issue.”
“With this proposed legislation, we want to put people on probation and parole in positions to succeed—not to wind up back in prison and perpetuate an ongoing cycle,” Jones, CEO of REFORM Alliance, said.
Meek, who is still on probation, said there’s “a lot of laws and statutes that don’t actually make sense” which are destroying the lives of the voiceless. So he has made it his mission to “speak for the ones who don’t have the voice.”
Pennsylvania state’s prison population has reportedly increased 850 percent over the last 40 years, with over 80,000 inmates in prison on a given day, according to the release.
“I appreciate the work and time that Representatives Harris and Delozier have devoted to collaborating with the REFORM Alliance to address this bipartisan issue. This is just beginning, and there’s more work to be done,” Jones added.