Jay-Z, Meek Mill join owners of Patriots, 76ers to press for criminal justice reform

A coalition of names in sports and entertainment is taking on criminal justice reform.

Rappers Meek Mill and Jay-Z and the owners of the Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets and the Super Bowl-bound New England Patriots have announced the launch of an organization that will lobby for changes in the probation and parole laws.

The Reform Alliance will be led by Van Jones, a CNN host, activist and former adviser to President Barack Obama.

"We don't want people that's in charge, the police areas, to be in danger either," said Jay-Z. "We want to be very clear. If someone commits a crime they should go to jail. But these things are just disproportionate and the whole world knows it."

Statistics show about 2.2 million people in the United States are incarcerated, and about 4.5 million are on probation or parole.

Meek Mill became a symbol for criminal justice reform activists after a judge in Pennsylvania sentenced him to prison for minor violations of his probation.

He spent months there.

The performer said the Reform Alliance is important because he's speaking "for people who don't have a voice."

"I didn't ask to be the face of reform," Meek Mill said. "I don't want to be the face of anything. I just want to bridge gaps and try to bring people together and make the world a better place. Especially for my culture in the environment where I grew up where the system has a system that's basically targeted for people that look like me."
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