CNN’s Michael Smerconish spoke with Hip Hop rapper Meek Mill Friday on how the criminal justice system treats him, Trump and getting into prison reform.
He tells the reporter that the system has ways of snatching up young Black men. Then, it keeps them trapped, even if they never commit new crimes. To him, as well as other prison advocates and loved ones, this just doesn’t make sense.
According to the Philadelphia entertainer, who was born Robert Rihmeek Williams, this is why he’s been trapped for so many years. And THAT is why he’s now getting involved in prison reform.
Meek Mill believes that there intentional points set up in the criminal justice system that makes it legal and common to TARGET specific groups of people. One of these marginalized groups, according to the ex-Bloodhoundz member, is young Black men.
Check out the YouTube video below.
Video: Smerconish: Meek Mill discusses his new album, Kanye, and criminal justice reform
Most people know by now that the latest prison stent was Meek Mill’s third sentence. Now, the Philadelphia Hop Hop star is on a mission to help create a buzz for criminal justice reform. And it’s evident in his new #1 album.
Watch the video below to see the Meek Mill interview with Michael Smerconish for CNN:
Is Meek Mill Fit to Carry Us Through Prison Reform?
In 2008, Meek was convicted of a gun charge. And it’s no secret that he’s had multiple run-ins with the law both before and after this.
Many argue that this alone disqualifies him from leading the people through the prison reform fight.
However, the Philly rapper tells a story that is all-so familiar to people who grew up in inner cities and essentially ghettos. Yet, to those who didn’t, their only experiences related to such issues come from rap songs made by stars such as Meek Mill.
He told Michael Smerconish:
I grew up in in America in a ruthless neighborhood where we were not protected by police.
We grew up with people selling drugs in our neighborhood on our front steps. We grew up in ruthless environments. We grew up around murder.
If you grew up in my neighborhood, you see seven people die a week, I think you would probably carry a gun yourself?
The reporter responded:
Yes, I probably would, yes.
Back when Meek was just 18 years old, he was charged for pointing a gun at police officers. The rap star has always denied that this ever happened.
Most fans, especially Black me, always believed him. He has told reporters, fans and anyone who will listen that pointing a gun at a cop for a Black man is equivalent to committing suicide. And he insists he’s never been suicidal.
From that angle, you would have to agree.
Prison reform is about the only politics that matter for this rapper. He even gives his approval to President Donald Trump for his prison reform efforts. Meek told Smerconish:
I’m not a politician, but I feel like anything that a president does to fix laws and statues that don’t make any sense and are unfair to American people is the right thing to do.
So, What IS Happening in Prison Reform Today?
This costs the public significantly. Damages from these various crimes were estimated at 1.5% of the GDP in 2014. Adding up to about $500 billion, that adds up to 2.9% of the total GDP.
Many prison reform experts and advocates say a large amount of these costs are related to recidivism… the act of committing another crime after doing time and getting released.
Looking at Bureau of Justice Statistics trends, experts predict that:
- About 1/2 of all conditionally released federal inmates will be re-arrested within five years
- Over 75% of those released on community supervision from state prisons will be re-arrested within five years
What Is President Trump Doing to Help Prison Reform?
In an effort to break the cycle of recidivism, President Donald J. Trump wants to implement evidence-based and bipartisan prison reforms. In his March 2018 executive order, he called on various Federal agencies to support him.
He wants them to come together to find ways to:
- Reduce recidivism in the US
- Improve the current re-entry process
- Refine public safety
More About the First Step Act
Trump has been talking about the First Step Act for some time now. Many prison loved ones, advocates and famous prisoners, like Meek Mill, have been watching closely to see if it will really make a difference in the fight to end recidivism.
Creating programs that reduce recidivism also puts a major dent in the country’s mass incarceration problem. According to Congress, the First Step Act seeks to change the way we sentence federal prisoners in the US.
Ideally, the Act creates a network between:
- The President
- Business communities
- Faith-based communities
- Law enforcement agencies
The goal is to have all of these forces work together to create programs that provide resources that properly reintegrate the formerly incarcerated back into society.
Reducing crimes and curbing recidivism helps keep families intact. This also helps reduce the costs of operating prison facilities throughout the country.
Meek Mill seems to have a little faith in the First Step Act. But he’s also making physical efforts to get involved with US prison reform. Let’s see what 2019 holds!