After years of being caught up in the justice system, Meek Mill will get a chance today (July 16) to argue for his decade-old gun and drug-related charges to be overturned. It’s an uphill battle the Championships rapper has been fighting since he was first convicted in 2008.
In an interview with CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King, Meek spoke candidly about the struggles and limitations he’s had to face living on probation, which has repeatedly been extended. He says, while on probation, everyday things most people take for granted can be treated as an infraction.
“I’ve been having to ask somebody to travel my whole adult life since the age of 18 to 32,” Meek said. “I can’t go across the state line, even if it's to the next county over. If it's out of the city [and] you don’t ask for permission, you can get the rest of your probation time given to you as jail time legally.”
Continuing, he recounted how the probation caused him to miss out on experiencing a major milestone: picking his son up from school. The probation stops him from driving from the short 15-minute distance to see his son after school like most parents can.
“My son lived in New Jersey, but I lived in Philadelphia, and the bridge is a 15-minute ride,” he recounted. “I couldn't go get my son from school.”
Despite that, Meek is looking at the bigger picture of the situation and wants to use his circumstances to push for criminal justice reform. He is already been laying the groundwork through the criminal justice reform non-profit, REFORM Alliance, he launched alongside hip-hop magnate Jay-Z and Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin.
In January, Meek proposed a bill before Pennsylvania lawmakers in January to overhaul the state’s probation and parole system. But Meek has eyes on a more fair and just future.
“The work I want to do is actually make a smart probation and parole act where you can gain your life back and get your life back on track, and not just be caught up in a loop and going in and out of the system,” Meek elaborated. “I want to do something for the people who come from where I come from because we actually do start [behind] and it goes back to slavery but we have to catch up. I want to help them people get the right start and make it a fair game.”
You can watch a clip from the interview below.
(Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence)