Meek Mill's release sparking conversations about Philadelphia Justice System

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A day after rapper Meek Mill was released from jail, community groups made their voices loud and clear Wednesday morning outside of Philadelphia City Hall.

They say the national attention the case is getting is helping to expose what they call the injustices of Philadelphia's criminal justice system.

Many say the probation and parole structure disproportionately impacts black and Latino communities, which results in mass incarceration of minorities.

"We need to start changing the way we view criminal justice in Philadelphia and that means taking some big steps, such as what our DA is doing by looking at bail reform and making it easier for people to get out so they are not sitting behind bars waiting on a trial date, which may not come for six, eight or nine months, or a year," says Jeffery Abramowitz with National Workforce Opportunity Network.

Their campaign is called "Close The Creek," a push for the House of Correction to be shut down.

Group members say the jail is aging severely and is a human rights disaster with deplorable conditions. They want to see the prison population cut in half and more community-based services for those being released from jail.

"We are over incarcerated in Philadelphia at more than twice the national average. So, it is time for Philadelphia to truly be progressive and end this craze of mass incarceration and start working toward restorative justice," says Reuben Jones with Close the Creek Campaign.

While groups like these are using the arrest of Meek Mill to advance their cause of what they see as a tainted justice system, defense attorney Charles Peruto, who represents the judge who locked up Meek Mill, says despite criticism, the judge stands by her decision.

"This case is all about celebrity and money and power and pressure. But with his judge, she is not going to budge because she feels she did the right thing and so do I," says Peruto.

While Meek is free now, his legal troubles are not over. He will back in court in June, trying to get his convictions overturned.


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