Meek Mill, Van Jones and Philadelphia 76ers’ co-owner Michael Rubin, who represent Reform Alliance, proposed a bipartisan bill in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, which seeks to reform the state’s probation and parole system.
Joined by Pennsylvanian Democratic and Republican politicians and others, the REFORM Alliance co-chairs Meek and Rubin and CEO Jones introduced their plans at the Philadelphia Municipal Services Building on Tuesday. The proposed legislation would prevent Pennsylvania courts from sentencing someone to consecutive prison sentences or extending probation or parole over fines and fees for non-violent, technical probation violations as well as establish a system of incentives that reward good behavior.
The legislation would also prevent re-incarceration of people under supervision who test positive for marijuana, associate with someone with a criminal history or travel outside jurisdiction.
“I’m just here to speak for the ones who don’t have a voice, because I hate it had to be me who had to go to jail, a rapper, a public figure to go to jail for it to become an issue, but it is an issue and this is where we at,” Meek said on Tuesday. The rapper was released from prison on bail in April 2018. “And I decided to use my time, my platform and my energy to speak for people who don’t have a voice and, you know, I could be sitting in jail doing a two-to-four year sentence, maybe playing ping pong or chess, but instead I’m hiring people, I’m giving back to my community.”
“But beyond myself, I’m only here to use my platform and my voice to speak for the people who don’t have a voice. It’s a lot of young men actually locked behind them walls and stacked up with probation and trying to do well with their selves and move forward,” he concluded. “But they can’t because the odds are so great against them.”
In January, Meek and Jay-Z launched Reform Alliance alongside Rubin and several other business and sports-team owners. The criminal justice reform organization is working to eradicate “laws and policies that perpetuate injustice in the United States.” It aims to reduce the number of people affected by parole and probation law by 1 million over the next five years.