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Meek Mill has teamed up with Pennsylvania lawmakers to unveil new legislation that aims to improve the state's parole and probation system.
The Philadelphia rapper and activist introduced the bill Tuesday, alongside REFORM Alliance co-chairs Van Jones and Michael Rubin, as well as state representatives Jordan Harris and Sheryl Delozier. The proposed legislation intends to prevent parolees and probationers from getting trapped inside the criminal justice system by reducing probationary periods, establishing incentives for good behavior, and minimizing restrictions for technical probation violations, which is what led to Meek's 2017 incarceration. This means parolees and probationers would not be re-incarcerated for violations like marijuna use, association with convicted criminals, or traveling outside their jurisdiction ("unless it can be proven they were trying to escape supervision").
"This proposed bill is the first step in changing the criminal justice system and it’s only right that we start in my home state,” Meek said. "I’ve lost too much time away from my son, my family, my friends and fans in Philly because of outdated probation laws, so I want to make sure people don’t have go through what I did."
Advocacy groups on both sides of the aisle have backed REFORM Alliance's efforts with the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The state has the highest incarceration rate in the western hemisphere, and the second-highest percentage of U.S. citizens on probation and parole.
"With this proposed legislation, we want to put people on probation and parole in positions to succeed—not to wind up back in prison and perpetuate an ongoing cycle," Jones, the CEO of REFORM Alliance, said. "I appreciate the work and time that Representatives Harris and Delozier have devoted to collaborating with the REFORM Alliance to address this bipartisan issue. This is just beginning, and there’s more work to be done."