Rapper Meek Mill paid bail for 20 women so they could spend the holidays with their loved ones, Mill’s nonprofit, REFORM Alliance, announced in an Instagram post.
REFORM Alliance, which Mill launched with Jay-Z in 2019, said the women were incarcerated at Riverside Correctional Facility in Philadelphia and couldn’t afford bail. Mill said in a statement that the holidays can be an “extremely challenging time” for families impacted by the criminal justice system, and so that’s why he wanted to help.
“No one should have to spend the holidays in jail simply because they can’t afford bail, and no child should be without their parents during this time if we can do something about it,” Mill said on Friday. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to help these women be with their families and loved ones during this special time of year.”
The women will also receive a gift card to purchase groceries or gifts for the holidays, REFORM said.
In a separate Instagram post from REFORM, Mill said the women’s experience resonates with him, as he spent time away from his young son while he was in jail for violating his parole.
“It was devastating for me to be away from my son during the holidays when I was incarcerated, so I understand what these women and their families are going through,” Mill said.
In 2017, Mill was sentenced to serve two to four years in state prison for a minor probation violation after a 2008 gun and drug possession conviction. After public protests and legal appeals, he was released after serving five months. He was later granted a re-trial on his 2008 conviction. Ultimately, Mill pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge and all other charges were dropped.
Because of his experience, he sought to change the criminal justice system. With the backing of high-profile supporters such as Jay-Z and Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin, Mill created REFORM Alliance, which focuses on probation, parole and sentencing reform in the U.S.
“Every time I started to further my life… every year or two there was always something that brought me back to ground zero and that was probation. I always wondered what happened to the people that was in situations worse than mine,” Mill said in 2019. “I’m here to speak for the people who don’t have a voice.”