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Meek Mill-backed probation reform bill introduced to legislature

Tatyana Jenene

 // Jun 1, 2019

Meek Mill // Artist Instagram

Meek Mill's REFORM Alliance is one step closer to changing the probationary system in Pennsylvania.

His criminal justice reform group, REFORM Alliance, along with JAY-Z, Van Jones, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin co-sponsored a bipartisan bill in the Pennsylvania legislature that will set strict guidelines on probation sentencing and credits. On Friday (May 31), Rep. Jordan Harris (D-Philadelphia) and Rep. Sheryl Delozier (R-Cumberland) asked for the bill, known as The Smart Probation & Parole Act (HB1555), to be considered in the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill would make the maximum sentence for probation two years for misdemeanors and five years for felony convictions. The bill would also standardize the credit received for completing programs, vocational training, and obtaining a diploma. It will also reduce the number of violations used against people to send them to jail.



"I've been on probation in Pennsylvania my entire adult life, for over a decade. Every aspect of my life is restricted," Meek said. "We need to pass HB1555 and make sure individuals in Pennsylvania never experience confining and oppressive barriers that make it nearly impossible to re-enter society, travel to a job or even provide for their families."

In 2008, Meek was arrested for possession of a gun and spent eight months in prison. He was later placed on five-year probation but is still under the terms to this day because of a string of arrests and probation violations that date back to 2012.

In 2017, Judge Genece Brinkley sentenced the rapper to two years in prison following his NYC reckless endangerment arrest. After five months of detainment, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an order to grant Meek Mill an early release on bail after several attempts to overturn his sentencing were denied by Brinkley.



Within the last month, Brinkley has denied two travel requests from the rapper. One was for a trip to Canada to watch the Toronto-Philly NBA Eastern Conference championship, and the other was for a performance in Abu Dhabi that was reportedly worth $450,000. Last month, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner filed an appeal, asking for a new trial with a different judge.

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