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Jay-Z, Meek Mill help prisons fight COVID-19, send 10 million face masks and PPE

/ 04:44 PM May 12, 2020

Jay-Z speaks onstage at the 2018 Pre-Grammy Gala And Salute To Industry Icons at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in New York. Image: AP/Michael Zorn/Invision

The criminal justice organization founded by American rappers Jay-Z and Meek Mill is handing out 10 million surgical masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to correctional facilities in the United States amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rappers’ organization Reform Alliance will be using the $10 million (P503 million) cash donation given by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to fund the initiative, CBS reported yesterday, May 11.

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Dorsey made the donation through his Smart Small relief fund. The CEO’s donation to Reform Alliance is part of his pledge to give $1 billion (P50.3 billion) to various COVID-19 relief efforts.

“I’m grateful Reform exists,” Dorsey was quoted as saying. “The criminal justice system needs to change. COVID-19 adds to the injustices, and Reform is best suited to help.”

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Reform Alliance’s president, Bob Pilon, also emphasized the importance of helping these correctional facilities.

“This is 2.3 million Americans that don’t usually have the loudest voice,” he was quoted as saying. “That’s why we’re doing this, to give that population a voice and answer their call to be treated like humans.”

Last year, Jay-Z and Mill founded Reform with businessmen Michael Rubin and Robert Kraft. According to the report, the organization has sent out 100,000 face masks to numerous correctional facilities prior to its latest donation drive.

While the whole world is under siege by the new coronavirus disease, Prison Policy Initiative said that U.S. jails have reduced the population of their facilities by approximately 25% since the pandemic started.

The report also cited a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, showing the difficulties prisons and jails are facing while combating COVID-19, such as the need for a larger range of testing in both staff and inmates.

“Prisons are eight of the top 10 hotspots, so people need to care about them,” Pilon said in the report.

An analysis made by the University of California’s School of Law and cited by CBS also showed that the wide range of COVID-19 testing in some correctional facilities has revealed a high number of positive cases in these institutions. This suggests that the true number of COVID-19 cases in prisons and jails are still significantly underreported. Cha Lino/JB

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TAGS: coronavirus, covid-19, Jay-Z, Meek Mill, prisons, REFORM Alliance
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