Meek Mill, Jay-Z Launch New Criminal Justice Reform Organization

Michael Rubin Robert Kraft JAY-Z Meek Mill and Van Jones

Jay-Z and Meek Mill pledge $50m to free prisoners

Jay-Z also spoke and said Meek's unfair treatment is what put the discussion of prison reform into the national spotlight, but it's an issue that he's all too familiar with.

In the months since Meek Mill was released from prison after a lengthy - and as-yet-unfinished - battle with the criminal justice system, the Philadelphia rapper has been an outspoken advocate for criminal justice reform, appearing on television and writing a New York Times editorial to address the need for prison reform, especially cash bail and probation, which has kept Meek under the system's thumb since his teens.

The rap stars have tapped political activist Van Jones to lead the Reform Alliance to change what they have labeled a broken prison system.'s Lisa Voyticki has more.

"People always say to me how lucky Meek is to have me as his friend".

REFORM Alliance is putting an initial $50 million toward "disabling the revolving door of probation and parole", by "changing the laws, policies, and practices that perpetuate injustice", according to its mission statement.

The REFORM Alliance has the backing of a range of powerful people from the sports and entertainment industries, including Jay-Z, Brooklyn Nets co-owner Clara Wu Tsai, Kraft Group CEO and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Third Point LLC CEO Daniel Loeb, Galaxy Digital CEO and founder Michael Novogratz, and Vista Equity Partners founder Robert Smith.

"I got caught up in the system", said Mill, who ultimately was ordered out on bail previous year by Pennsylvania's Supreme Court.

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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. 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.

Once he was free man again, Meek immediately focused his attention on criminal justice reform in the US, insisting his imprisonment was unjust and unnecessary.

JAY-Z applauded Meek for bringing attention to criminal justice reform, and shared his own experience growing up in Marcy Projects. To counteract that, the REFORM Alliance will work with states and local jurisdictions to pass common-sense probation and parole reform laws.

Across the U.S., roughly a third of people on parole are black, according to Bureau of Justice statistics - something Jay-Z raised at the event. "If someone commits a crime, they should go to jail, but these things are disproportionate and the whole world knows it".

At a press conference in New York, Jay-Z, 49, explained: 'We want to be very clear. "The legislation is important to get right, especially these first few bills", he adds.

Do you think they will be successful or not?

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