American rapper Jay-Z, January 28, 2018 in New York / AFP / Archives
Rappers Jay-Z and Meek Mill have launched a movement to demand a reform of the American judicial system, in which, according to them, the prison occupies a much too important place and penalizes in particular the blacks.
In a message posted on his Facebook page, Jay-Z explains that the initiative was launched in response to Meek Mill's legal process.
Arrested in 2007 and sentenced for possession of weapons and narcotics, Robert Williams, his real name, carried out six months of detention before receiving an early release, accompanied by judicial review.
He has not committed a crime since but having violated the terms of his judicial control, having left the county without authorization and undergoing several positive drug tests, he was again detained in November 2017.
The magistrate who has been dealing with her case since the beginning of the proceedings has thus sentenced him to a minimum sentence of two years' imprisonment.
The rapper received a wave of sympathy and, after an appeal, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered his release in April 2018.
"What's happening to Meek Mill is just one example of how our criminal system locks in and harasses hundreds of thousands of blacks every day," Jay-Z wrote in a Nov. 2017 column in New York. Times.
"Instead of being a second chance," he said, "judicial control is a minefield, in which the slightest mistake can have more serious consequences than the crime itself."
Rapper Meek Mill, June 25, 2018 in Santa Monica, California / AFP / Archives
The two men on Wednesday launched the REFORM Alliance movement, whose mission is to "drastically reduce the number of people who are unfairly placed under the supervision of the judiciary, starting with judicial control and probation."
"We will use our considerable resources to change laws, criminal policy, hearts and minds," said the message released on Wednesday.
The movement can count on the support of several influential personalities, including the owner of the New England Patriots football team, Robert Kraft, or the founder of alternative investment firm Third Point, Daniel Loeb.
According to a study by the Urban Institute, published in 2014, blacks accounted for 37% of the prison population while their weight in the US population was only 13%.