Meek Mill, Jay-Z, 76ers, Nets, Patriots fight for justice reform

Meek Mill, Jay-Z, 76ers, Nets, Patriots fight for justice reform

Darren Sullivan
January 25, 2019

In 2017, Mill was sentenced to serve two to four years in state prison for a minor probation violation after a decade-old gun and drug possession conviction. The group pooled together $50 million among themselves to help advance the cause, and one of their aims is to get one million people off probation or parole within the next five years.

In its first few months, the REFORM Alliance will be focused specifically on Pennsylvania and NY, and on passing probation and parole reform policies there, Jones says.

About 2.2 million people in the USA are incarcerated, and about 4.5 million are on probation or parole, according to government statistics.

"We looked to get together a diverse group of people who had three things in common", Rubin says.

The owners of the New England Patriots and Philadelphia 76ers, Robert Kraft and Michael Rubin, are co-founders.

At a press conference announcing the launch of REFORM, Rubin noted that 6.6 million individuals are now in the United States criminal justice system, including four million people who are on probation. After Meek's release, we joined forces and committed to changing mass supervision laws (probation and parole policies) that will have the greatest impact on the largest number of people.

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"We come from the bottom", said Jay-Z, who grew up in Brooklyn public housing.

This new initiative comes a few months after the rapper was released after spending five months behind bars for violating an nearly decade-old probation. The shocking two-to-four year sentence Meek received in November 2017 spurred the global #FreeMeek movement, which led to his release on bail in April 2018. 'You grow up around murder on a daily basis, you grow up in drug-infested neighborhoods on a daily basis'. But every year or two was something that always brought me back to ground zero, and it was probation, and I always wondered what happened to people in situations worse than mine, ' Meek explained his motivation.

The black represents the USA prison system where many people face unjust sentences that do not fit the crimes for which they have been convicted.

Across the USA, roughly a third of people on parole are black, according to Bureau of Justice statistics - something Jay-Z raised at the event. "But these things are just disproportionate and the whole world knows it", he said.

The #REFORM logo on the outsole and the tongue shows, with strength and power, the message that we want to clearly convey - that it is time for reform, and that we will continue to work toward our objective of universal equality. His high-profile case brought out a wave of support from people like Jay-Z and Colin Kaepernick.

"This is the culmination of my entire life's work, as far as I'm concerned", Jones tells Fast Company. The organizations have set a goal of freeing at least one million people trapped in that system. "A person on probation can end up in jail over a technical violation like missing a curfew".