Rapper Meek Mill cried when he shared his probation experience during Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro’s signing of a new probation reform bill. The legislation stipulates that minor technical violations of a parole agreement shouldn’t result in the person going back to jail, a sentiment that is shared by the Philadelphia-born artist.
Mill, 36, spent years on probation after a 2008 conviction for drug and weapons charges. He revealed that he lived in constant risk of jail due to technical violations, citing his everyday experience of driving through the Ben Franklin Bridge.
“I thought that it was either I go to jail and I take my son to school and I ended up taking my son to school so I want to thank you guys here today. I don’t want to get emotional because it’s a lot.”
The rapper said despite the stereotyping of African Americans, he had fought to overcome societal labels and gained the needed respect. In 2008, he was convicted of possession of drug paraphernalia and possessing a loaded firearm, leading to an 11 to 23-month prison sentence by the Philadelphia County Superior Court and eight years of probation. He was released after seven months in 2009 under a five-year probation agreement.
Mill faced legal troubles in 2012 for suspected marijuana use and parole violations related to concert travel. The arrest resulted in financial losses from missed performances and endorsement deals. In 2017, he served five months in prison for parole violation following a reckless endangerment arrest in New York.
In January 2023, Mill received a pardon for the 2008 charges from outgoing Governor Tom Wolf, as reported by the Associated Press.
Mill posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, after the signing: “I don’t know how I cried on the news I ain’t even cry in my cell! I needed that!”