Jay Z’s Roc Nation Announced as Investor in App Seeking Alternative to Incarceration

Roc Nation and its founder Jay Z have been announced as backers for Promise, an app-based program which looks to equip participants with the necessary tools to avoid incarceration and meet their court-required obligations.

Jay Z.

Image via Getty/Jeff Kravitz/Contributor

Jay Z.

It’s no secret that prisons in the United States are overcrowded. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of inmates rose from 621,000 in 2000 to 744,600 in 2014. The Vera Institute for Justice speculates that one of the major reasons behind overcrowding in prisons is that people are unable to pay the bail amount set by a judge.

The app-based program Promise looks to combat these problems by to creating “a cost-effective and more humane alternative to incarceration.” Jay Z’s Roc Nation has been announced as an investor.​

Following what the program calls an “comprehensive intake procedure,” Promise works to help its clients from the very beginning by providing financial assistance with bail costs. From there, Promise works through its app by giving the participant an “intelligent calendar” that includes important information that features the dates of their court appearances, drug testing, and more.

“Promise will help government agencies support those who would otherwise be in custody or who are on some form of community supervision-namely probation or parole," the program wrote in its press release.

“We are increasingly alarmed by the injustice in our criminal justice system,” Jay Z said in a statement. “Money, time and lives are wasted with the current policies. It's time for an innovative and progressive technology that offers sustainable solutions to tough problems. Promise’s team, led by Phaedra, is building an app that can help provide ‘liberty and justice for all’ to millions.”

Promise is set to be unveiled by its creators Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins and Diana Frappier at Y Combinator Demo Day on March 20.

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