But, just because he’s finally freed from behind bars doesn’t mean his work is finished. His poignant statement at a press conference about his previous opioid addiction is helping him further that work and prove a major point about criminal justice system reform.
The Philly emcee expressed how his post-jail experience still feels surreal to him, as he’d never thought he’d be standing beside people like Philadelphia Governor Tom Wolf and other stake holding local politicians for such a pertinent cause. Meek then shared his own experience not only as someone who’s suffered the plights of the flawed justice system, but his fear of seeking help as a probationer addicted to drugs.
“At one point in my life I was actually addicted to opioids, and I think it should be a line drawn where you have a drug problem, and you’re scared to tell your probation officer you have a drug problem because you don’t want to be sent to prison for years,” Meek said.
However, the Wins & Losses rapper was fortunate enough during that time to have a probation officer who helped him seek rehabilitation for the addiction instead of tossing him back in the pen. Among many other reasons, his experience prompted him to make a commitment to “speaking for the voiceless,” he added.
“I actually spent time with these men and women, and watched families being broken apart because of drug addiction, mental illness, technical violations,” he said of his time spent with other incarcerated citizens suffering from similar conditions. Meek’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, made light of his engagement with other prisoners Meek vowed to represent once he was finally granted justice in a recent interview as well.
The 30-year-old also kept himself informed on the world outside of his cell while incarcerated. Meek watched the controversial Starbucks situation via media coverage, in which two Black men were discriminated against and arrested for sitting in a Starbucks. He used the inequitable incident to emphasize another point about the critical need for justice reform: had it been him unfairly arrested for simply sitting down in the coffee shop, he still would have suffered a technical probation violation and two-to-four-year prison sentence for coming into contact with police.
The time he spent in jail was a “traumatic experience,” he described, and is the very reason he pledges to continue using his platform for other men and women like him in Philadelphia and worldwide who’ve been made victims of the flawed criminal justice system.
Feels good to have you home, Meek!
See a clip from his statement via TMZ in the video below.
(Photo: Shareif Ziyadat/WireImage)