Meek Mill starting a foundation to take on criminal justice reform
In a New York Times op-ed, Mill, born Robert Rihmeek Williams, recounted his experience of serving five months in prison after popping a wheelie on a motorcycle found him in violation of probation for a decade-old arrest. A judge sentenced him to two to four years behind bars, but he was released in April after a legal battle in which the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office found credibility issues with the arresting officer who gave testimony during Mill’s 2008 trial.
“I know I’m the exception to the rule — a lucky one,” Mill wrote of his case, which attracted widespread attention. “It’s clearer than ever that a disproportionate number of men and women of color are treated unfairly by a broken criminal justice system. " @MeekMill
He outlined ideas for reform, many focused on probation. He said lawmakers should do away with “technical violations,” such as testing positive for marijuana or not following rules for registering changes of address, that can land probationers in prison. And he called for legislation shortening probation periods for people showing good behavior “so that entire swaths of people aren’t spending the majority of their adult lives on probation as I did.”
Mill says he plans to start a foundation devoted to the issue. “I am choosing to see my situation in a different light, to see that I’m incredibly fortunate,” he wrote. “A higher power has put me in a position to help fix this — to help clean up this persistent stain on our society.”