Meek Mill Appears With Pennsylvania Governor To Seek Criminal Justice Reform

Meek Mill
Matt Rourke/AP
– Meek Mill
Arriving at the criminal justice center in Philadelphia.

Meek Mill joined Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf May 3 to demand criminal justice reforms from state lawmakers, one week after a court ordered the rapper to be released from prison. 

Mill, whose real name is Robert Williams, and Wolf appeared at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia with a half-dozen state lawmakers and 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin. 
Rubin and other high profile execs and celebrities, including Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Philadelphia basketball legend Julius Erving and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, have advocated for Mill’s release since he was sentenced in November for violating probation related to a 10-year-old gun and drug case. 
Mill, who was released from prison on bail April 24 after serving five months of a two-to-four-year sentence, said his lawyers have advised him against speaking about the case in public. But that hasn’t stopped the rapper from discussing his experiences, as he said he feels compelled to talk about the issues he faced in the criminal justice system to advocate for others who have been unfairly incarcerated. 
“I actually know the errors of the criminal justice system personally because I’ve been tangled in the system since 18 years old,” he said at the appearance. “I actually made a commitment to speaking for the voiceless. I spent time with these men and women, and watched families being broken apart because of drug addiction, mental illness, technical violations.”
Wolf spoke listed the initiatives he would like to pass to reform the system, including measures to provide fair sentencing and increase parole supervision. He is also looking to secure funding for indigent defense and clear pathways to expunging criminal records. 
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered Mill’s release after prosecutors agreed with the rapper’s lawyers that he deserved a new trial because of questions of credibility surrounding the arresting officer. The officer is one of 29 cops that were placed on Philadelphia’s “Do Not Call list” after he was investigated by federal authorities for alleged acts of corruption. 
At the time the list was released, Mill’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, said, “The release of the so-called “Do Not Testify” list supports everything in the motions filed by Mill and others wrongfully arrested by Officer Graham for post-conviction relief.”
A recent study conducted by Columbia University Justice Lab found that Pennsylvania has  about 296,000 people of parole or probation, the third highest in the country.