JAY-Z and Meek Mill just scored a big victory for prison reform

Years of hard work come to fruition with latest California criminal justice bill

JAY-Z and Meek Mill scored a big win for criminal justice reform Wednesday, as California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 1950 into law, limiting adult probation sentence maximums to one year for misdemeanors and two years for felonies. Jay and Meek’s organization, REFORM Alliance, had a major hand in developing the bill’s policies and promotion.

“MAJOR REFORM VICTORY! California enacts #AB1950,” the organization wrote in a celebratory Instagram post. “This bill will help put hundreds of thousands of Californians on probation in positions to succeed and exit the criminal justice system for good. Thank you @GavinNewsom!”

AB 1950 was just one of the many justice reform bills Newsom signed into law. The Governor also approved banning police officers’ use of chokeholds during arrests. Newsom says summer protests against George Floyd's death were an obvious catalyst to major change in the state’s justice system. “Americans across the country took to the streets this summer rightfully demanding more and better of our criminal justice system – and of ourselves.”

Jay and Meek launched REFORM back in 2017 in response to the latter’s re-imprisonment for a probation violation. Once Meek was free, the rapper became a champion for prison and criminal justice reform. Amazon followed his journey in the docu-series Free Meek.

The legislative battle is a bright spot in an otherwise chaotic year for Mill. Just two months after welcoming their baby boy, the rapper announced he and girlfriend, Milan Harris, were separating. Meek says the decision was amicable. In a since deleted Instagram post he captioned, “no fall out either just moving forward! Still love! This for protection so social media won’t think we moving wrong.”

Meanwhile, JAY-Z continues promoting socio-political messaging through his music. He Pharrell just dropped a new collaboration track, “Entrepreneur.” The song is part of a project with TIME magazine, called, "The New American Revolution.” The publication described the track as “a celebration of Black ambition.”

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