Hip-Hop

Michigan Passes Prison Reform Laws Supported by Meek Mill & Jay-Z's REFORM Alliance

Meek Mill
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Meek Mill attends Rihanna's 5th Annual Diamond Ball at Cipriani Wall Street on Sept. 12, 2019 in New York City. 

The Michigan State Legislature passed on Monday (Jan. 4) a set of laws that will significantly reshape the state’s probation and parole system.

SB 1048SB 1050 and SB 1051 were all advocated for by Meek Mill and Jay-Z's criminal justice reform organization REFORM Alliance. The new laws will reduce adult felony probation sentences in Michigan from five years to three years, prevent endless extensions on misdemeanor and felony probation terms, limit jail sanctions for technical probation violations and require parole supervision terms to be tailored to a person’s individualized risks and needs.

Michigan had the sixth highest rate of probation supervision in the country. Now that Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the bills into law, Michigan is on pace to decrease the state's overall caseloads by 8.4 percent.

"It’s encouraging to watch bipartisan leaders from different states recognize the need for fair and rational legislation focused on creating second chances for those in the criminal justice system,” Rubin said in a press statement. “We’re incredibly thankful for Governor Whitmer for signing these bills into law and for the coalition of groups that supported us throughout this process. This is a tremendous victory for REFORM and a strong way to start 2021.”

“This bipartisan legislation will bring meaningful change and opportunity to thousands of individuals and families across the state of Michigan,” REFORM CEO Van Jones added. “We thank Governor Whitmer for her fearless commitment and leadership to bolstering her state’s criminal justice system in a fair and balanced way. We look forward to continuing to work with her on impactful reform measures in the future.”

Meek Mill, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Philadelphia 76ers partner Michael Rubin, Jay-Z, Brooklyn Nets partner Clara Wu Tsai and more teamed up to launch REFORM Alliance in January 2019. In December, Meek and Rubin started a $2 million scholarship fund to provide financial relief for underserved kids in their Philadelphia hometown.