Power of the Pen: Meek Mill Pens Essay For New York Times

Released from jail this April, the rapper talks prisoner rights and reform in opinion piece for New York Times.

“Like many who are now incarcerated, I was the victim of a miscarriage of justice. I got lucky, but because of dysfunctional, discriminatory rules, most don’t” says Meek Mill as he begins his opinion piece for the New York Times.

Accompanied by a less than three-minute video, Meek Mill’s, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, reads us our ‘reformed’ Miranda Rights in an almost spoken word and yet statistical manner. Walking us through his first-hand experience with America’s criminal justice system, Mills’ narrative highlights the disparities in sentencing between black and white inmates, the loss of freedom continuing after one has served their time, and statistics around the likelihood of returning to jail, as he did.

Recounting his previous experience with the criminal justice system which landed him back in jail earlier this year; Mill’s spells out the incessant need for reform to America’s criminal justice system — to which he refers to as a ‘web.’

Acknowledging that he is the exception to the rule, Mill’s vows to utilize his platform to give a voice to the voiceless. Taking advantage of his resources, Mill’s has met with ‘several lawmakers’ according to his New York Times essay, including Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania.

As we have seen countless times before, whether in our own lives, by word-of-mouth or on Law and Order, minorities aren’t given a fair chance within the legal system. Ask the public defenders who are assigned more than their share of workloads and don’t give their clients a fighting chance — but we can’t necessarily blame the public defenders in this case, now can we?

Again, proactively using his resources and platform, Mill’s pens that he will soon announce the launch of a foundation alongside friends to achieve change. With a call to action, readers are led here to sign up to stand alongside the new age activist in what he calls the ‘moral crisis of our time.’

As I continue to lend my ears and eyes to Mill’s he provides us with what he is asking for while meeting with elected officials:

Together, we will demand stronger prison rehabilitation programs, updated probation policies — including shortened probationary periods — an improved bail system and balanced sentencing structures.

It’s a shame that model probationers can be immediately put back behind bars simply for missing curfew, testing positive for marijuana, failing to pay fines on time or, in some cases, not following protocol when changing addresses. Our lawmakers can and should do away with these “technical violations.”

Clearly, with research, guidance, and most importantly first-hand experience, Mill’s has seen the silver lining in his rather fortunate situation. Ending his well crafted, prospective, and motivating essay Mill’s writes:

“Above all, we need to make sure punishments actually fit crimes. Mine certainly didn’t. But I am choosing to see my situation in a different light, to see that I’m incredibly fortunate. A higher power has put me in a position to help fix this — to help clean up this persistent stain on our society.”



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