Jay-Z says Meek Mill's prison sentence shows how justice system 'harasses' black people
Jay-Z has penned an op-ed for The New York Times condemning rapper Meek Mill's two- to four-year prison sentence for violating probation.
In his opinion piece, titled "The Criminal Justice System Stalks Black People Like Meek Mill," Jay-Z argues that Meek Mill's sentence stemming from a nearly decade-old drug and gun charge points to a far larger problem.
"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-Z wrote.
According to the Associated Press, Mill, 30, had been on probation for nearly a decade in the drug and gun case.
The AP also reported that although the prosecutor asked for no prison time, Common Pleas Judge Genece Brinkley ruled that the rapper did not clean up his act when he had the opportunity to do so. Mill's attorney said he will appeal the decision, according to the AP.
"I've been trying to help you since 2009," Judge Brinkely said, citing a failed drug test, failure to comply with a court order restricting his travel and two other unrelated arrests, the AP reported. "You basically thumbed your nose at me."
"I may have made a mistake but I never had the intention of disrespecting you," Meek Mill reportedly responded. Hundreds rally in support of imprisoned rapper Meek Mill Judge ignores recommendation, sends Meek Mill to prison
Jay-Z, 47, noted in his op-ed that Mill was about 19 years old when he was convicted for drug and gun possession, and served an eight-month sentence.
"Now he's 30, so he has been on probation for basically his entire adult life," Jay-Z wrote. "For about a decade, he's been stalked by a system that considers the slightest infraction a justification for locking him back inside."
The rapper took special aim at the probation system.
"Probation is a trap and we must fight for Meek and everyone else unjustly sent to prison," Jay-Z wrote. "It’s time we highlight the random ways people trapped in the criminal justice system are punished every day. 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."
"Instead of a second chance, probation ends up being a land mine, with a random misstep bringing consequences great than the crime. A person on probation can end up in jail over a technical violation like missing a curfew," he wrote.
The rapper, whose company Roc Nation represents Meek Mill, also asserted that the musician's prison sentence will cost taxpayers in Philadelphia without providing them with a service.
"I bet none of them would tell you his imprisonment is helping to keep them safer," he wrote.
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.
Rapper Rick Ross and Philadelphia 76ers legend Julius Erving both showed up to speak at the event.