Meek Mill hasn't given up the fight for criminal justice reform.
Nearly 19 months after his prison release, the Philadelphia rapper traveled to State Correctional Institution-Phoenix to meet with Maurice Hudson—an inmate who was incarcerated after failing to make court-ordered payments. Meek was accompanied by activist/76ers partner Michael Rubin, who spoke about their Friday visit and the importance of changing Pennsylvania's criminal justice system.
"It's a case very similar to Meek's. [Hudson has] been sent to prison two different times: Once for one to two years, another time for 18 to 36 months—never committed a crime," Rubin told reporters. "For me to see people in Pennsylvania going to prison for not committing crimes is something I can't understand. ... I think [Hudson] is a good person. He's got three kids, wants to take care of his kids. And instead of being with family and taking care of his kids, he's in prison for being poor."
Meek and Rubin learned of Hudson's case in a recent Philadelphia Inquirer report. Though Hudson had already served his time for a decade-old robbery charge, he was still had $1,941 in outstanding court costs. Hudson told Judge Genece Brinkley—the same judge who sentenced Meek to prison for parole violations—he was struggling to pay off the debt as he only earned about $150 a week as a part-time janitor. Brinkley ultimately gave the man an additional prison sentence, stating it was "absolutely necessary to vindicate the authority of the court."
Following the visit, Meek told the Phildelphia Tribune that he wasn't surprised that Brinkley was behind Hudson's sentencing.
"We were like two brothers meeting with the same mother," Meek told the outlet. "He said this was like he was going to court for a murder. I understand because when you are in this position you don’t know how long you are going to be away from your family. It was the same thing for me."
Meek and Rubin are now calling for Hudson's release as well as revisions to the state's probation laws.
"Pennsylvania is spending $100 million a year putting people in prison for technical violations. That means they did not committ a crime...we need to change that," Rubin told reporters. "This is the third-worst state in the country—we have the third highest rate of people in prison for technical violations...it's a perfect example of someone who shouldn't be here...we do want to help this young man to get out of prison, we want to help him to get back with his family, and this is another great example of what we need to change in Pennsylvania."