People sometimes forget about prisoners once they are convicted and sent away for their crimes. Robert Rihmeek Williams better known as rapper Meek Mill wants to change that. The prison reform activist has revealed that he has a plan to prevent the coronavirus from spreading behind bars, according to Billboard.
Meek Mill, formerly incarcerated himself, and his criminal justice organization REFORM Alliance have revealed a new policy recommendation on how to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The policy is entitled S.A.F.E.R. Plan.
The key proposals of the S.A.F.E.R. Plan state: Suspend jail for technical violations, suspend probation office visits and payment of fines; Adopt smart alternatives to incarceration; Free medical visits and treatment, hand sanitizer, soap, and protective gear; Extra precautions for guards and staff; and Release elderly and vulnerable to home confinement.
“As our country takes measures to protect against coronavirus, we can’t afford to forget about the millions of people under the control of our criminal justice system,” said Jessica Jackson, REFORM Alliance’s chief advocacy officer, in a press release.
“People in prisons, jails, or under community supervision are more at risk of contracting and spreading the virus, given their age, underlying health conditions, and close contact with each other. Protecting these individuals from coronavirus is not just a moral obligation, but necessary to preserve the health and safety of our communities.”
REFORM Alliance wants to enlist others in the fight against the deadly pandemic. It has started an online petition that urges public officials to protect at-risk incarcerated prisoners.
“Of the 2.3 million incarcerated people in the U.S., roughly 165,000 are over the age of 55. Compared to the general population, people in jail and prison are more likely to have pre-existing health conditions. These groups of people are most at risk of falling ill or dying from the coronavirus, or COVID-19,” the petition page reads.
“In the midst of a viral epidemic, continuing to operate in this fashion is, to put it bluntly, insane,” added Arthur Rizer, director of criminal justice & civil liberties at R Street Institute.
“Yet far too many local and state courts, jails, prisons, and probation and parole offices continue to proceed as if nothing has changed—even as schools, bars, restaurants, gyms, and businesses shutter because of COVID-19. Our nationwide addiction to incarceration seems unbreakable, even when it puts us at risk of disease.”
REFORM Alliance is an organization that Mill started with businessman and fellow rapper Jay-Z, New England Patriot owner Robert Kraft, and Kynetic CEO Michael Rubin. Its goal is to “dramatically reduce the number of people who are unjustly under the control of the criminal justice system—starting with probation and parole,” according to the REFORM Alliance website.