Jay-Z has been using his platform to speak his mind very openly as of late. Whether it be his latest album, 4:44, or the various open letters/op-eds he’s penned, Jay-Z, who’s been active in fighting for social justice behind the scenes, has been more in the forefront as of late. In his latest piece for New York Times, Jay-Z speaks on the Meek Mill situation and the criminal justice system in general.
Jay opens by attacking how Meek Mill’s situation may appear to some:
On the surface, this may look like the story of yet another criminal rapper who didn’t smarten up and is back where he started. But consider this: Meek was around 19 when he was convicted on charges relating to drug and gun possession, and he served an eight-month sentence. Now he’s 30, so he has been on probation for basically his entire adult life. For about a decade, he’s been stalked by a system that considers the slightest infraction a justification for locking him back inside.
He goes on to speak on the trap of probation, and the price paid by the public for Meek’s imprisonment,
What’s happening to Meek Mill is just one example of how our criminal justice system entraps and harasses hundreds of thousands of black people every day. I saw this up close when I was growing up in Brooklyn during the 1970s and 1980s. Instead of a second chance, probation ends up being a land mine, with a random misstep bringing consequences greater than the crime. A person on probation can end up in jail over a technical violation like missing a curfew.
Taxpayers in Philadelphia, Meek Mill’s hometown, will have to spend tens of thousands of dollars each year to keep him locked up, and I bet none of them would tell you his imprisonment is helping to keep them safer. He’s there because of arrests for a parole violation, and because a judge overruled recommendations by a prosecutor and his probation officer that he doesn’t deserve more jail time. That’s why I stopped my show in Dallas last week to talk about Meek.
To see the read the rest of Jay’s Op-ed, click here.
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