Criminal justice reform has long been a hot-button issue in American society, particularly given the huge disparities in incarceration rates for black people.
One particular focus injustice in the system is bail. According to the Vera Institute Justice, 62 percent the jail population accounts for people who can’t afford bail. It isn't just a human rights issue, it's economic as well, because it costs s about $38 million a day to keep these largely nonviolent people behind bars, according to TechCrunch.com.
JAY-Z has long been a vocal advocate prison reform, with films focusing on Kalief Browder and Trayvon Martin as well as penning an op-ed for the New York Times about the "exploitative bail industry" last Father's Day, as well as an essay for the Hollywood Reporter about social justice.
Now Jay has taken his involvement a step further. His company, Roc Nation, was just announced as a backer Promise, a company that aims to provide "a cost-effective, more humane alternative to incarceration by extending the capabilities community supervision, improving long-term outcomes for individuals and communities."
“We are increasingly alarmed by the injustice in our criminal justice system,” Jay-Z said in a statement. “Money, time and lives are wasted with the current policies. It’s time for an innovative and progressive technology that fers sustainable solutions to tough problems. Promise’s team, led by co-founder and CEO Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, is building an app that can help provide ‘liberty and justice for all’ to millions.”
So far, Promise has raised $3 million, with investment led by First Round Capital with participation from Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, 8VC and Kapor Capital, TechCrunch reports.
If you missed Jay's opinion piece on the bail industry last year, you can take a peek at here.