Jay Z’s work producing the Time: The Kalief Browder Story, apparently impacted the rap mogul more than any of us realized. Coming just a day after he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Jay Z decided to share some thoughts in Time Magazine regarding the bail industry and how it disproportionately impacts people of color in America.
He began by recounting his own personal history. “If you’re from neighborhoods like the Brooklyn one I grew up in, if you’re unable to afford a private attorney, then you can be disappeared into our jail system simply because you can’t afford bail. Millions of people are separated from their families for months at a time — not because they are convicted of committing a crime, but because they are accused of committing a crime.”
After sharing the tragic story of Kalief Browder, he got to the heart of the issue. “When black and brown people are over-policed and arrested and accused of crimes at higher rates than others, and then forced to pay for their freedom before they ever see trial, big bail companies prosper,” he wrote. “Every year $9 billion dollars are wasted incarcerating people who’ve not been convicted of a crime, and insurance companies, who have taken over our bail system, go to the bank.”
But more than just bringing awareness to the issue, Jay plans on doing something about it. “This Father’s Day, I’m supporting those same organizations to bail out fathers who can’t afford the due process our democracy promises. As a father with a growing family, it’s the least I can do, but philanthropy is not a long fix, we have to get rid of these inhumane practices altogether. We can’t fix our broken criminal justice system until we take on the exploitative bail industry.”
You can read his entire op-ed here.