Race & Identity
JAY-Z Comes To Meek Mill's Defense In Powerful New York Times Op-Ed, Writing 'Probation Is A Trap'
Hov holds nothing back as he describes the injustices of the criminal justice system.
Rap legend and business mogul JAY-Z has been speaking out about Meek Mill's prison sentence a lot lately.
Mill was sentenced to two to four years in jail for violating the terms of his parole. Not long after this, news was released of strange requests the case's judge, Genece Brinkley, made of Mill, including that he cover the Boyz II Men song "On Bended Knee" and shout her out on the track.
Mill was in trouble for popping a wheelie on the set of a music video and for an airport altercation. Video released of the airport incident showed that it hadn't transpired as had been reported, and Mill promised to go to traffic school over the wheelie.
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Because of these two things, prosecutors and Mill's own probation officer asked that the rapper not receive any jail time.
He did, obviously, and now JAY-Z has written an op-ed for the New York Times explaining why he believes Meek Mill ought to be freed and arguing for the U.S.' probation system to be overhauled.
“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,” Hov wrote. “For about a decade, he’s been stalked by a system that considers the slightest infraction a justification for locking him back inside.”
Jay goes on to argue that probation makes a person's life unfairly difficult because the slightest misstep can send the person back to jail.
“Instead of a second chance, probation ends up being a landmine, with a random misstep bringing consequences greater than the crime," JAY-Z added. "A person on probation can end up in jail over a technical violation like missing a curfew."
Hov also suggested that probation is perhaps a tool of corporations rather than the justice system.
"In Pennsylvania, hundreds of thousands of people are on probation or parole. About half of the people in city jails in Philadelphia are there for probation or parole violations. We could literally shut down jails if we treated people on parole or probation more fairly."
While shutting down jails might be in the interest of tax payers, who Carter said would "have to spend tens of thousands of dollars each year to keep him locked up," it is not in the interests of the corporations that profit from full prisons.
In the end, Jay summed it up like this: "Probation is a trap and we must fight for Meek and everyone else unjustly sent to prison."