Rapper Meek Mill has paid bail for 20 women so that they can spend the holidays at home, according to the REFORM Alliance, an organization he launched in 2019 alongside Jay-Z.
The women were incarcerated at Riverside Correctional Facility in Philadelphia and were unable to afford bail, according to an Instagram post from the REFORM Alliance.
Five of the women were released on Saturday, and 15 more will be released in the coming week, says the nonprofit. Each woman will also receive a gift card “to purchase groceries or gifts for the holidays.”
Meek Mill said the donation was informed by his own personal experience with the criminal justice system.
“It was devastating for me to be away from my son during the holidays when I was incarcerated, so I understand what these women and their families are going through,” said the rapper in another Instagram post from the REFORM Alliance.
“For families impacted by the criminal justice system, the holidays can be an extremely challenging time,” Meek Mill went on. “No one should have to spend the holidays in jail simply because they can’t afford bail, and no child should be without their parents during this time if we can do something about it.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to help these women be with their families and loved ones during this special time of year.”
Meek Mill launched the REFORM Alliance in 2019 alongside a cadre of other sports and business leaders. The organization “aims to transform probation and parole by changing laws, systems and culture to create real pathways to work and wellbeing” according to its website.
The Philadelphia native has been a vocal advocate for criminal justice reforms. An explosive social media movement called #FreeMeekMill started after he was sentenced to two to four years in prison in 2017 for a parole violation. He was freed after spending five months in prison for the violation.
There were a total of 4,546 people incarcerated in Philadelphia prisons as of November 2022, according to data from the Philadelphia government. Around 6.4% of that group are women.