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Meek Mill Cried During Pennsylvania Probation Bill Signing: ‘I needed that’

Meek Mill shed tears while speaking at the signing of the new Pennsylvania Probation Bill

Meek Mill
Meek Mill

Meek Mill was emotional while addressing the media as he celebrated the great victory of Senate Bill 838 being signed into Pennsylvania law.

Meek Mill, Jay-Z, and Michael Rubin’s REFORM Alliance is toasting to a monumental legal win as their latest probation bill became an official part of the legislation in Pennsylvania. The bill, which provides critical reform to Pennsylvania probation laws, will significantly decrease the number of previously incarcerated people who end up back in jail for non-criminal technical probation violations.

REFORM, a criminal justice reform organization, worked alongside advocates and bipartisan lawmakers over the last few years to finally bring the bill before Pennsylvania governor, Gov. Josh Shapiro, who earlier this year in a press release promised to sign when it landed on his desk. “It’s long past time to reform our system as a whole and put responsible limits on probation terms,” Shapiro said at the time. “You’ve passed that bill before. And I hope you’ll do it again. Put it on my desk and I’ll sign it.”

On December 14, 2023, Meek Mill (and likely many other probationers in the state of Pennsylvania) had their dream become a reality after the House passed the legislation. As someone whose storied past has been riddled with legal woes for as long as he probably can recall, often pressured by the looming threat of recidivism, this one was all too close to home for the hip-hop artist and music executive who choked up during his statement at the press conference that followed the prominent probation law-reforming moment.

“Every time I’d cross the Ben Franklin to go pick my mom up to take my son to school in New Jersey, I was actually committing a crime the whole time from technical violations and I didn’t have any way to get around that because I was already in jail my whole twenties, my son seen me in prison and I wanted to take my son to school. I thought it’s either I’m a go to jail or I’m a take my son to school,” Meek Mill explained as his eyes welled with tears. “I don’t want to get emotional because it takes a lot. You don’t got to clap. I’m at a point in my life we all grew up in the streets and we try to be better but they label us felons and send us back to jail.”

He continued: “I had to fight against that the whole time to gain my respect and be who I am today and I’m proud of that. People know I don’t really drop tears but I want to say this because there’s a lot of young men who follow me in the street and they don’t really know what I go through.”

Later on social media, Meek posted a photo of himself, Michael Rubin, and Governor Josh Shapiro all-smiles while proudly showcasing Senate Bill 838. “I don’t know how I cried on the news I ain’t even cry in my cell! I needed that,” he wrote in the caption.

In a previous statement that acknowledged the passing of the bill and what it meant to him personally as a victim of the broken probation laws, Meek Mill said: “My experience on probation reflected millions of other stories that go unheard. So when the world saw my case and the absurdity of sending people to prison for non-criminal technical violations, it sparked a movement. It’s an honor and a blessing to see this change come to my home state. I am deeply grateful to the lawmakers and advocates for their hard work over many years to get this done. Thank you, truly.”

Michael Rubin, businessman and CEO of Fanatics, doubled down on that sentiment when he took to X to address the historic bill’s passing following the press conference. “FINALLY!!!! 5 years later and we got this done – incredibly exciting!” he began. “Sitting in that courtroom with Meek in 2017 watching a judge sentence him to 2-4 years for NOT committing a crime was the most out of body experience I had in my life and from that moment on I truly understood how broken the criminal justice system is!”

“And Pennsylvania was as bad as it gets. We started @reform with one goal – fix the broken probation and parole laws and get 1 million people of out the system who shouldn’t be there while keeping communities safe. This is now our 18th bill in our 11th state, but for me it’s the most meaningful one since founding REFORM because this is where it started and what inspired all of us,” he wrote in part.

This victory follows another of REFORM Alliance’s huge law-reform wins in 2020 when California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill limiting probation periods for adult criminals to one year for misdemeanors and up to two years for felonies in California. At the time, Jay-Z, who is a resident of the state, thanked Newsom for his role in making the law a reality.

“I want to thank Governor Newsom for his leadership in signing AB 1950, the most transformative probation bill in this country to date,” Jay said. “This is a first step that I hope introduces a wave of much-needed change throughout the country.”