Jay-Z has been outspoken about what he considers the unfairness of Meek Mill’s recent two-to-four-year prison sentence for probation violation, and on Friday the New York Times published a strong editorial by the rapper criticizing not just the sentence but the entire U.S. judicial system and the probation program in particular.
Common Pleas Court Judge Genece E. Brinkley cited a failed drug test and unapproved travel, stemming from a 2008 gun and drug case, as the reason for Mill’s — real name: Rameek Williams — harsh sentence.
“On the surface, this may look like the story of yet another criminal rapper who didn’t smarten up and is back where he started,” Jay writes. “But consider this: 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. For about a decade, he’s been stalked by a system that considers the slightest infraction a justification for locking him back inside.
“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,” he continues. “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…. Probation is a trap and we must fight for Meek and everyone else unjustly sent to prison.”
Read his op-ed in full here.