PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philly rapper Meek Mill is on a crusade to bring attention to criminal justice reform.
In his first one-on-one local TV interview since walking out of a Chester prison last month, Mill sits down with our Chantee Lans to share his message and his hope for the future.
Mill spent nearly six months behind bars on what’s called technical violations on his probation. One was for an airport scuffle. The other was for popping a wheelie on a dirt bike in New York City. The violations stem from a nearly 10-year-old drug and gun charge.
FULL INTERVIEW: Meek Mill Goes 1-On-1 With CBS Philly
In all, Meek has spent a third of his life under the control of the court system and he says for himself and others, something has to change.
“Why do you think it stands out so much?” our Chantee Lans asks.
“Because it’s not right. There’s right and wrong. I don’t believe that if a kid makes a mistake at 18, 19 years old, he should still be going to jail for it,” said Mill.
“So there are some people who are like, ‘He doesn’t need to be in there, he needs to be out.’ Then there’s another group, like law-abiding citizens, [who say], ‘He knew the probation rules but he keeps breaking them.’ What would you say to that?” asks Lans.
“I always say there’s two Americas if you believe somebody need to go to jail and be shackled from ankles to wrists because they popped a wheelie be locked in a cell. These are experiences that I’ve been through,” said the Philly rapper.
2007 ARREST IN PHILLY
In 2007, Mill says he was brutally arrested by Philadelphia police when he was 19.
“It was a long day. You seen my mug shot. It was a lot of blood loss from me,” he says.
Police were acting on an officer’s claim that he had seen him the day before selling drugs. He was found guilty and sent to jail on drug and gun possession charges. His probation time expanded over the years when he was found in non-criminal technical violations. Some were over opioid use, traveling without permission and for giving a fake urine sample.
PLANS FOR THE FUTURE
And after spending a third of his life on probation, Mill shares his plans on how he’s going to lead the charge for change.
“When I got out, I continued to pursue the path that God put me on,” said Mill. “I feel like I should try to reach back and help in this area first. I want to start with Philadelphia, Pennsylvania first.”