Published: Fri, January 25, 2019
Entertaiment | By Simon Arnold

Rappers Jay-Z, Meek Mill launch effort to slash U.S. prison population

Rappers Jay-Z, Meek Mill launch effort to slash U.S. prison population

The organization, which will be led by longtime criminal justice reform advocate and CNN commentator Van Jones, aims to "drastically reduce the number of people who are under control of the criminal justice system by changing laws and public opinion", according to a press release shared with ABC News. But these things are just disproportionate and the whole world knows it'.

"We looked to get together a diverse group of people who had three things in common", Rubin says. "I didn't sleep the rest of the night when I went home because here I'm thinking how out of touch someone like myself is with what's really going on", said the Patriots owner.

Meek was released from prison by judges in Pennsylvania in April, after spending four months in jail following a violation probation on a 2008 drugs and guns conviction.

They said their goal is to get at least one million people out of jail within the next five years and get them on probation or parole instead.

The founding partners of "Reform Alliance", a newly formed organization to reform the US criminal justice system, (L-R) Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, Robert Kraft, Michael Rubin, Meek Mill, Michael E. Novogratz, Clara Wu Tsai, Daniel S. Loeb and Reform Alliance CEO Van Jones pose together at the Reform Alliance launch event in New York City, New York., US, Wednesday.

According to the NAACP civil rights organization, black people are incarcerated at more than five times the rate of white people in the United States.

"For us, this is how we grew up", he said. "We're all prisoners to this, until everyone's free, no one's free". In that moment, he realized that he was "dead wrong" about the criminal justice system.

'I'm here to speak for all the people who don't have a voice, ' Mill, who remains on probation until 2023, said at the event.

Do you think they will be successful or not?

Rubin was drawn to this issue due to this friendship with Meek Mill, who spent several months in prison in 2018 due to a parole violation.

"You grow up around murder on a daily basis, you grow up in drug-infested neighbourhoods".

In their remarks, both Mill and Rubin cited 2017 Bureau of Justice Statistics figures that show 2.1 million US citizens are incarcerated and 4.5 million are either on probation or parole.

"Every time I started to further my life with the music industry, from traveling the world, performing worldwide, and actually making money to be able to provide for my family and take them out of that ruthless environment-every year there was something that brought me back to ground zero, and it was probation", said the Philly rapper. "We're going to free a country to be its best self".

The alliance is backed by a $50 million pledge from Jay-Z and others including New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft and Rubin, who was instrumental in Mill's release.

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