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Probation Reform Bill Backed by Meek Mill Now Law in Pennsylvania

There is a new bill that will stop the probation-to-prison pipeline in the state of Pennsylvania.

 

Meek Mill

Meek Mill, among others, shared a heartfelt moment when REFORM Alliance’s Senate Bill 838 was ushered in by Governor Josh Shapiro.

 

Now called Act 44, the new bill was officially signed by the governor in 2023, passing “with overwhelming bipartisan support last year and was supported by more than 125 groups and 500+ advocates from across the Commonwealth including faith groups, reentry organizations, employers, formerly incarcerated and directly impacted leaders, and criminal justice reform advocates.”


The victory was a good ending to direct advocacy by REFORM Alliance, the Pennsylvania Safety Coalition, as well as leaders from across the political spectrum.


Back in 2017, Mill was sentenced to 2-4 years in prison for noncriminal probation violations. It was his sentence that subsequently put a spotlight on the many long-standing issues with the Commonweath’s probation system, which, in turn, sparked a successful grassroots movement to not only free Meek from prison but to fight for probation around the nation.

 

“We’ve shown that we believe in second chances here in Pennsylvania – and when someone gets a second chance, that should be a real opportunity to start over and succeed,” said Governor Josh Shapiro.


“Act 44 passed with a bipartisan majority in the House and Senate, and it makes commonsense reforms to remove unnecessary barriers for Pennsylvanians who want to rebuild their lives and meaningfully contribute to our communities. Because of this legislation, more people will get to spend the holidays with their families, more parents will get that job they wanted, and more people will get back on their feet. They’ve served their time, they’ve paid their debt to society – we should do everything we can to help them succeed and thrive.”


The new law will have several key changes to Pennsylvania’s probation and criminal justice system, expected to benefit more than 300,000 people who are on probation over five years.


“This law means that no one will have to go through what I did—getting locked up and facing years in prison for minor, noncriminal probation violations,” said Meek Mill, REFORM Alliance Co-chair. “This is a historic moment for Pennsylvania. I’m honored that my story, alongside the stories REFORM shared, ignited a movement that brought together the whole state to make this change happen.”


Photo Credit: DepositPhotos.com

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