Jay-Z writes article in the New York Times defending Meek Mill

Rapper Meek Mill

Earlier this week, hundreds of protesters gathered outside Philadelphia's Criminal Justice Center to call for Meek Mill's prison sentence on probation violations to be overturned.

Common Pleas Judge Genece Brinkley of Philadelphia cited a failed drug test, failure to follow an order restricting his travel and two other unrelated arrests for Mill's sentencing.

"Meek was around 19 when he was convicted on charges relating to drug and gun possession, and he served an eight-month sentence", Jay-Z began. He added that at 30, Meek Mill has been on probation for nearly entirely his adult life and will now be going to jail for 2-4 years for offences whose charges were either already dropped or dismissed.

Highlighting the prejudice against black people in the criminal justice system, Jay-Z wrote that one-third of Americans on parole or probation in 2015 were black.

The father-of-three rapper then took special aim at the probation system.

Jay went on to argue that people who are "trapped in the criminal justice system are punished every day".

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Brinkley's scheduling of a hearing came several hours after Mill's lawyers filed the bail motion and was the first public response from the judge since her prison sentence ignited a national wave of protests and demands the Mill be set free.

"Probation is a trap and we must fight for Meek and everyone else unjustly sent to prison", he adds.

"I bet none of them would tell you his imprisonment is helping to keep them safer", he wrote.

Jay-Z writes that Meek's case reminds him of his experiences growing up in Brooklyn in the '70s and '80s, where probation was a "land mine, with a random misstep bringing consequences greater than the crime".

Jay-Z stopped a concert in Dallas last week to criticize Mill's sentencing and the criminal justice system, The Rolling Stone reported. "Black people are sent to prison for probation and parole violations at much higher rates than white people", Jay says.

Read his full op-ed here. We could literally shut down jails if we treated people on parole or probation more fairly.

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