Serving five months behind bars in a PA state prison really did a number on Meek Mill. He’s detailing how deeply the experience has traumatized him.
Meek Mill grew up in a rough Philadelphia neighborhood where violence was an everyday occurrence. He was forced to use those same survival skills from his youth during the five months he spent locked up in Chester State Prison while serving two to four years or a minor probation violation. The PA Supreme Court ordered him free on bail to fight his case on Apr. 24 and now he’s gone on the record about how horrifying the experience was. “We’re in there with murderers, rapists. Your mind transforms into survival mode. You gotta survive, because people in here that got guns, people in here that killed multiple people, people in here that’s ruthless. Some good people there, because everybody’s not bad in prison, but survival mode…” he tells Rolling Stone magazine in an interview published Apr. 27.
Meek’s case dates back to a sketchy 2007 arrest on drug and weapons charges by a cop who’s since been placed under investigation for deep corruption and misconduct allegations. The Philly native has been in the system ever since he was 18, under the eye of Judge Genece Brinkley, who has been unusually ruthless in her punishments involving the rapper over the years. Meek was arrested in the summer of 2017 for popping wheelies on a motorbike — a reckless driving charge that was later dropped. Rather that let it go as prosecutors had asked, Brinkley sentenced him to a minimum of years in prison for it. For riding a friggin’ motorbike! Meek’s never been in trouble for anything violent or hurting anyone, and never been charged with any other crimes. But he ended up serving prison time alongside multiple murderers.
“I don’t think you should be deprived of your freedom for years and then placed in prison with lifers and [murderers]. I went from being a regular citizen to being locked down 24 hours, maximum security, coming out, getting placed in another prison [with murderers],” he tells the publication. “Why are we serving the same type of time? It’s a criminal environment. There should be levels to prisons. Like, a guy that commit crime and he went to prison, [why does] he needs to go with the rapists? I don’t think you should be able to make a mistake and just be placed in a penitentiary, like, where is the in-between? Where is the rehabilitation?” he asks.
Meek said the hardest part of prison was being away from his six-year-old son Rihmeek. It was especially painful when he had to tell his child the reason why he was being torn away from him. “I gotta break it down to my son, like, ‘Yeah, I gotta be in here for two years for riding a bike’ he’s like, ‘We ride bikes all the time, every day at Grandma’s. Why you doing two years for riding a bike?’ He’s six years old and it’s complex to explain to a kid why you’re doing two years in jail for riding a bike.”
While there’s no upside ever to being in prison, one thing is has done is make Meek recharged to focus on his career. “Five months in prison, all I did was sleep,” he tells the mag. “I don’t need to rest, I need to work.” Amen to that!
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