New York City, NY – Meek Mill appeared on The Dr. Oz Show to share his incarceration story and discuss the parole system that subjected him to being on probation most of his adult life. The Philadelphia superstar’s probation woes inspired his own efforts to reform the criminal justice system.
“Me, I’m a strong individual and I’ve got the drive and determination to make all bad situations turn out to be good,” Mill said. “But I don’t believe I was given a fair shot on probation.”
Michael Rubin, who joined Mill’s efforts within Van Jones’ REFORM Alliance, discussed Mill’s sentencing and the apparent “Two Americas.”
“I watch a probation officer get up and say, ‘Robert Williams,’ Meek’s real name, ‘He’s a model probationer. He’s done everything we’ve ever asked. We think he’s great.’ The judge started to scream at her. I couldn’t believe it was happening,” he said. “They said, ‘Don’t worry, no one’s ever been sentenced against the recommendation of the probation officer [and] District Attorney in the history that they’ve seen.’”
Despite the recommendations against sentencing, the judge sentenced Mill to prison for two to four years.
“First of all I had no clue there are two Americas. Meek and I had this debate forever. He was like, ‘You don’t get it, there’s two Americas,'” Rubin recalled. “The day he was sentenced about an hour later he is calling me from jail where they just took him. He said, ‘I told you so.’ ‘You told me what?’ ‘I told you there are two Americas. This what happens in Black America.'”
Both Mill’s and Rubin’s efforts and the REFORM Alliance helped put forward the First Step Act earlier this year, which has already worked to reduce some non-violent prison sentences.