By Hayden Wright
This week, Meek Mill’s fans and peers descended on Philadelphia to protest his two- to four-year probation violation sentence. In a New York Times op-ed titled “Meek Mill and the Absurdity of the Criminal Justice System,” Jay speaks out on Meek’s behalf and against the “entrapment and harassment” of black men in America.
“What’s happening to Meek Mill is just one example of how our criminal justice system entraps and harasses hundreds of thousands of black people every day,” Jay wrote. “I saw this up close when I was growing up in Brooklyn during the 1970s and 1980s. Instead of a second chance, probation ends up being a land mine, with a random misstep bringing consequences greater than the crime. A person on probation can end up in jail over a technical violation like missing a curfew.”
Mill’s probation violation sentence was criticized for its “excessive” length and the controversial basis of his violation. According to sources, the decision stemmed from two arrests early this year in which charges were dropped. Mill’s probation officer said the rapper has “responded well” and “actively participated in an effort towards behavioral change.” The rapper was previously incarcerated for a drug and gun violation in 2008.
“Think about that,” Jay wrote. “The charges were either dropped or dismissed, but the judge sent him to prison anyway.”
Meek has launched an appeal to overturn the sentence and remove the judge from his case. In closing, Hova name-checked the racial-justice organization Color of Change, which works to pressure the courts for meaningful probation reform.