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JAY-Z pens op-ed about Meek Mill’s jail sentence: “Probation is a trap” for black people

on November 17, 2017, 12:50pm

JAY-Z has been speaking out against Meek Mill’s impending two-to-four year prison sentence ever since Philadelphia Judge Genece Brinkley handed down her decision. He previously called the sentence “unjust and heavy handed,” a point which he further emphasized during a recent concert in Dallas. Now, Hov has written an op-ed for The New York Times in which he argues that Mill’s case “is just one example of how our criminal justice system entraps and harasses hundreds of thousands of black people every day.”

The Roc Nation head goes on to call probation “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.”

Speaking specifically to Mill’s situation, he reiterates the well-referenced fact that both the prosecutor and the parole officer recommended no additional jail time, suggestions Judge Brinkley ignored in her sentencing. Further highlighting how unjust Brinkley’s ruling is, JAY-Z points out that the Mills probation status stems from an 11-year-old case, and that the charges that led to the recent violations were all thrown out. JAY writes,

“In March, [Mill] was arrested after an altercation in a St. Louis airport. After video of what had actually happened was released, all charges were dropped against Meek. In August, he was arrested for popping a wheelie on a motorcycle on his video set in New York. Those charges were dismissed after he agreed to attend traffic school.”

Yes, there were no actual charges against Meek Mill, yet he still is being sent to jail “..It’s time we highlight the random ways people trapped in the criminal justice system are punished every day,” JAY-Z continues. “The system treats them as a danger to society, consistently monitors and follows them for any minor infraction — with the goal of putting them back in prison.”

JAY cites a few startling statistics to highlight his point, such as the fact that of the 4.65 million Americans on parole or probation in 2015, one-third were black. What’s more, the rates at which black people were jailed for parole or probation violations were far greater than those of white offenders. “About half of the people in city jails in Philadelphia are there for probation or parole violations,” he concludes. “We could literally shut down jails if we treated people on parole or probation more fairly.”

Read the full op-ed here. JAY-Z isn’t alone in his questioning of how Meek’s case has been handled; the FBI is currently investigating Judge Brinkley after reports came out that she showed “enormous bias” and attempted to get Mill to leave Roc Nation for Charlie Mack, a Philly music figure with close ties to the judge.