Rapper Meek Mill joined forces with the Governor of Pennsylvania on Thursday to lead a Call-to-Action event demanding criminal justice reform.
Meek Mill appeared alongside Governor Tom Wolf at the National Constitution Center in his native Philadelphia to encourage lawmakers to overhaul the prison system and focus more on rehabilitation for minor drug offenders, instead of throwing them behind bars.
Meek was speaking from experience, having been released from a correctional institute in Chester, Pennsylvania on 24 April (18) after state lawmakers overturned a decision to keep him locked up without bail, following a probation violation which landed him two-to-four years in prison in November (17).
The original conviction dates back to 2008, when he was found guilty of drug and gun charges, but the whole case is now under review due to a local police corruption scandal.
At the Call-to-Action gathering, Meek confessed to struggling with a previous addiction to opioid pain medication, and credited his probation officer at the time with helping him get into rehab, declaring, “It changed my life.”
He also insisted that until laws are changed, he will always be haunted by a minor mistake he made as a teenager.
“I’m still not a free man,” he said. “I always feel like my freedom could be taken.”
Governor Wolf used the hip-hop star’s case to highlight the need for changes to the criminal justice system, explaining he wants to put an end to “technical parole violations” leading to incarceration, as was the case with Meek Mill, according to the local NBC News.
The rapper, who turns 31 on Sunday (06May18), is due back in court in June (18), when he will learn if his 10-year-old conviction will be dismissed.
Meanwhile, Meek is also using his newfound freedom to front a documentary series about his long-running legal battle.
The as-yet-untitled six-part show, which will also explore the wider issue of higher incarceration rates among people of colour, is being produced via JAY-Z’s new Roc Nation TV division for Amazon, and is expected to premiere in 2019, reports Variety.com.
“I’m grateful for this unique opportunity to share my story and I look forward to collaborating with Amazon Prime Video, Roc Nation and (producers at) the Intellectual Property Corporation on this incredible series,” Meek shared in a statement.
“Not only will this documentary give viewers an unprecedented look at my life, but it will also allow me to use my public platform to highlight the need for criminal justice reform.”