Rapper Meek Mill, who has been a vocal critic of the criminal justice system, recently teamed up with Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker to sign a new law.
This law, set to take effect from January 1st, aims to address non-criminal technical violations that often lead to individuals being re-incarcerated.
Meek Mill, born Robert Williams, has a personal history with the justice system, having spent nearly a decade under court supervision.
His legal battles have been widely reported, particularly with Judge Genece Brinkley.
Brinkley, who presided over his case, was accused by Mill’s legal team of harboring a vendetta against him after she sent him back to prison for failed drug tests, a fight in a St. Louis airport, traveling without permission, and most infamously – for popping a wheelie while riding a dirt bike.
The controversial judge claimed he violated the terms of his 2008 probation for a drug and gun conviction and ordered him to serve 2 to 4 years in prison. After intense pressures and boycotts, Meek Mill was released in April 2018.
Despite these challenges, Mill has emerged as a strong advocate for nationwide reform.
Speaking about his involvement in the law’s creation, Meek Mill said, “That’s a milestone in my life. When I started making music, I was just trying to get out of the ghetto and my environment. But to be a part of something that changes bills and laws that actually affect me and my people, it’s my legacy.”
He further emphasized the significance of this achievement, saying, “Before, all I had was music, and I helped inspire a lot of people to get through a lot of times. But now, I’ve got something real that I can say I do besides getting my mom out the hood. I actually helped change laws and help get people out of prison who don’t belong in prison.”
The new law is expected to impact around 100,000 people currently on probation, parole, or mandatory supervised release in Illinois.
A quarter of these individuals often return to prison within three years due to non-criminal technical violations, such as missing a meeting with a probation officer.