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Jay-Z and Meek Mill REFORM Alliance Celebrates California Probation Law

Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter (L) and Meek Mill attend the launch of The Reform Alliance at John Jay College on Jan. 23, 2019 in New York City.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Reform Alliance

Jay-Z and Meek Mill attend the launch of The Reform Alliance at John Jay College on Jan. 23, 2019 in New York City. 

REFORM Alliance, the criminal justice reform group co-founded by Jay-Z and Meek Mill had something big to celebrate on Wednesday (Sept. 30) when California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law AB 1950, a bill that will limit adult probation sentence maximums to one year for misdemeanors and two years for felonies.

"MAJOR REFORM VICTORY!" the organization announced on Twitter. "This bill will help put hundreds of thousands of Californians on probation in positions to succeed and exit the criminal justice system for good." The signing was a major win for the organization and came on the same day that Newsom signed a number of other police and criminal justice reforms, including a ban on police using carotid restraint chokeholds during arrests and a smoother path for the attorney general to independently investigate officer-involved shootings of unarmed individuals that result in death.

“I want to thank Governor Newsom for his leadership in signing AB 1950, the most transformative probation bill in this country to date,” Jay-Z said in a statement. "This is a first step that I hope introduces a wave of much needed change throughout the country.”

“Americans across the country took to the streets this summer rightfully demanding more and better of our criminal justice system–and of ourselves,” said Newsom in a statement. “We heard those calls for action loud and clear and today are advancing reforms to improve policing practices by ending the carotid hold and requiring independent investigations in officer-involved shootings. We are also taking important steps to break the school-to-prison pipeline. Still, we can and must do more

REFORM was launched following Meek Mill's return to prison in Nov. 2017 over a probation violation, which led to the rapper launching a drive for criminal justice reform, probed in the Amazon docuseries Free Meek. He's continued his work this year with the March unveiling of the S.A.F.E.R. Plan, a policy recommendation on how to prevent the spread of coronavirus behind bars and a donation of 130,000 surgical masks to correctional facilities.

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