Naomi Ludlow | Arts & Entertainment Editor
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Rappers Jay-Z and Meek Mill have joined forces with other business professionals to create REFORM Alliance, a prison reform organization.
The goal of REFORM is to “reduce the number of people serving unjust parole and probation sentences,” according to CNN.
REFORM Alliance was announced Jan. 23 at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
These men have had their hands in prison reform for a while.
Meek Mill has dealt with the criminal justice sentence for more than a decade. In 2008, he was arrested on gun and charges, and in 2017, he was sentenced to two to four years for violating probation.
Mill, 31, told Rolling Stone and network television reporters he has been on probation since age 18. Thirteen years of his life have been shackled to the criminal justice system. This system haunts him and makes it hard for him to move forward in his life. Meek Mill is just one of millions of people going through this exact thing.
In 2016, African Americans made up 12 percent of the adult population but 33 percent of the incarcerated, according to Pew Research Center.
Jay-Z and his co-founders, 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin and New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft, are essential financial supporters of this organization, and $50 million was pledged to launch REFORM. These men stood by Meek Mill during his time spent in jail and want it known that this issue is much bigger than the #FreeMeekMill movement. It is about trying to fix what many call a broken system.
Political commentator Van Jones was hired as CEO and is a huge supporter of this movement.
“I have spent my entire adult life preparing myself to help lead an initiative of this magnitude,” Jones told CNN. “I’m looking forward to working with this powerful group of founders to disrupt the status quo and shift the criminal justice system landscape for generations to come.”
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