Jay Z supporting jailed dads ahead of Father's Day
Researching his Time: The Kalief Browder Story docu-series made the rapper realise just how bad the exploitative bail industry in America is.
Jay Z has attacked the U.S. justice system on behalf of dads who will miss out on Father's Day because they couldn't afford bail for their alleged crimes.
The rapper penned an editorial piece for Time, which was published on Friday (16Jun17), calling for changes to help those people wrongfully accused of illegal acts.
"Seventeen years ago I made a song, Guilty Until Proven Innocent," he wrote. "If you're from neighborhoods like the Brooklyn one I grew up in, if you're unable to afford a private attorney, then you can be disappeared into our jail system simply because you can't afford bail.
"Millions of people are separated from their families for months at a time, not because they are convicted of committing a crime, but because they are accused of committing a crime."
The dad-to-be reveals he came face to face with the issue while researching his recent docu-series, Time: The Kalief Browder Story, which chronicled the story of a man who was accused of stealing a backpack.
"Kalief's family was too poor to post bond...," The 99 Problems hitmaker adds. "He was sentenced to a kind of purgatory before he ever went to trial. The three years he spent in solitary confinement on Rikers (Island prison) ultimately created irreversible damage that lead to his death at 22."
Browder was 16 when he was arrested. Two years after his release, he committed suicide.
The rap superstar continues: "On any given day over 400,000 people, convicted of no crime, are held in jail because they cannot afford to buy their freedom. When black and brown people are over-policed and arrested and accused of crimes at higher rates than others, and then forced to pay for their freedom before they ever see trial, big bail companies prosper. Families are forced to take on more debt, often in predatory lending schemes created by bail bond insurers. Or their loved ones linger in jails, sometimes for months."
Inspired by organisations like Southerners on New Ground and Color of Change, which helped bail out 100 mothers on Mother's Day, he's offering financial support to incarcerated dads.
"This Father's Day, I'm supporting those same organizations to bail out fathers who can't afford the due process our democracy promises," he wrote. "As a father with a growing family, it's the least I can do, but philanthropy is not a long fix, we have to get rid of these inhumane practices altogether. We can't fix our broken criminal justice system until we take on the exploitative bail industry."
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