Who says hip hop can’t have an impact in changing the world for the better? Jay-Z and Meek Mill’s REFORM Alliance scored a monumental milestone after a new bill backed by their criminal justice reform organization was signed into law in California.
Governor Gavin Newsom passed the new bill, AB 1950, on Wednesday (September 30) that will amend the state probation system.
“I want to thank Governor Newsom for his leadership in signing AB 1950, the most transformative probation bill in this country to date,” JAY-Z said in a statement obtained by Pitchfork. “This is a first step that I hope introduces a wave of much needed change throughout the country.”
Under the new law, adult probation sentences will now be capped at one year maximum for misdemeanors and two years for felonies. The bill was one of many that Gov. Newsom signed into law in response to the calls for police and criminal justice reform. The California governor also passed a bill that bans police officers from using chokeholds during arrests and another that will allow the state attorney to independently investigate police-involved shootings, according to CBS News.
“Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a law that is going to completely transform the probation system in California,” Van Jones, CNN contributor and CEO of REFORM Alliance said in a video published on REFORM Alliance’s official Twitter account. “The probation system is supposed to help people but, all too often it’s more like a trapdoor into failure rather than a springboard for success….It’s going to give people a much better shot at getting out of that system.”
In a statement, REFORM co-chair Michael Rubin, who is co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, expressed hope that the new bill will lead to change across the country.
“This is exactly why we created REFORM – to change laws and create a smarter criminal justice system focused on rehabilitation and redemption all while keeping communities safe,” Rubin said. “We’re grateful for Governor Newsom and Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove’s commitment to making such meaningful change in California and we hope it sets a necessary precedent for state leaders across the country.”
“MAJOR REFORM VICTORY!” the organization celebrated the news on Twitter. “This bill will help put hundreds of thousands of Californians on probation in positions to succeed and exit the criminal justice system for good.”