On Tuesday, Jan. 29, a very important bill was passed that will dramatically change how probation and parole works in the state of Pennsylvania. The creation of the bill was also fueled by the example of Meek Mill being on probation for over a decade.
Radio station KYW reports that because of the new Senate Bill 14, those convicted of a felony can no longer be on probation for more than five years and those who committed a misdemeanor would be limited to three years.
Plus, the probationary period could be shortened for good behavior, and guidelines written by the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing will be used to establish fair punishments for those who violate probation.
Based on data released from Columbia University Justice Lab in April 2018, Pennsylvania is third in the United States for percentage of population under court supervision, behind only Georgia and Idaho.
At the announcement of the new bill, Pennsylvania Sen. Anthony Williams said the days of making it unnecessarily hard for those on probation are over.
“While the criminal population is decreasing, the number of those on probation and parole is increasing as we speak,” he stated. “We no longer want to re-incarcerate someone through probation and parole.”
In 2008 the “Championships” rapper was convicted on weapons and drug charges and after serving prison time was placed on probation. He violated that probation in 2014 for booking shows without the judge’s permission and spent five months behind bars.
Meek violated probation again in 2017 and was sentenced to two to four years but was released in April of 2018.
Last week, it was announced that Jay-Z, Meek, Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin, New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft, CNN’s Van Jones, and others formed a new organization called The Reform Alliance that will focus on changing probation and parole laws across the United States.