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Meek Mill inspires new criminal justice reform bill

REVOLT TV

 // Jan 30, 2019

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Meek Mill has spent the majority of the past year making headlines related to his own personal legal struggles, as well as his dedicated efforts to help reform the criminal justice system.

On Tuesday (Jan. 29), the Pennsylvania Senate introduced a bill that's inspired by the rapper's history with probation and will limit the amount of ordered probation to no more than five years for felonies and three years for misdemeanors.

As reported by KYW Newsradio, if passed, Senate Bill 14 would also allow those on probation to have their sentences shortened if they demonstrate good behavior. Per the local news outlet, the bill will also "use the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing guidelines to curb judicial discretion when it comes to dealing with technical violations."

"This is great news!" Meek wrote on Twitter, reposting Sen. Sharif Street's speech commenting on the proposed bill. "I've been on probation 11 years and sent to prison 3 times without committing crime. This will directly effect people growing up in bad environments going in and out of prison for minor mistakes 'not crime.'"

Currently, the parole system's practices vary between counties. As a result, minor violations such as contact with police, missed curfew or non-payment of fines could result in extended sentences. Such was the case with Meek, who spent the better part of 2017 fighting a two to four year prison sentence for violating the terms of his probation. The situation sparked a national dialogue, as well as inspired the Championships rapper to form his new criminal justice reform initiative, aptly named the Reform Alliance.

"The time he served because of technical violations greatly extended the amount of time he would have served," Street said in a statement. "When we have high-profile cases that draw our attention to circumstances that should not apply to any Pennsylvanian, it's up to us to address those circumstances."

Sen. Anthony Williams (D-District 8), who is the prime sponsor for the bill, also commented, "While the criminal population is decreasing, the number of those on probation and parole is increasing as we speak. We no longer want to re-incarcerate someone through probation and parole."

Williams also noted how the bill will save the commonwealth money and get more people fully integrated back into society after completing their prison sentences.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, over 44,000 people in Philadelphia are on probation. Across the state, there are over 269,000 people in the probation system. This results in Pennsylvania having the third-highest amount of people who are on probation or under parole supervision in the United States.

Take a look at Meek Mill and Sen. Sharif Street commenting on the newly introduced bill below.

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