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Meek Mill Talks Criminal Justice Reform, Division of 'Two Americas' in Gayle King Interview

Trace William Cowen

Tuesday, Meek Mill will make an in-court push for overturning his 2008 conviction, arguing (among other things) that the testifying cop has a known credibility problem. This week also sees the two-part release of an in-depth interview with Meek conducted CBS This Morning's Gayle King detailing how his experiences in a broken criminal justice system have shaped him and informed his approach to pushing for reform.

Speaking on what he describes as the "two Americas," Meek explained how he sees the sociopolitical layout of Philadelphia.

"If you take a drone right now in Philadelphia and you put it on the main line of the suburbs and you put it on the main line of the ghetto, you would see there's two Americas," he said. "You would see chaos on one side and you would see people going to their mailboxes and kids coming from school on one side."

Meek also discussed the difficulties of such strict probation requirements, which he said deeply affected his ability to do basic, essential things like picking up his son from school. 

"My son lived in New Jersey, but I lived in Philadelphia, and the bridge is a 15-minute ride," he said. "It's just a bridge. I couldn't go get my son from school when I wanted to . . . Some days I would get off work early, I would just have a free day, and I would just want to pop up at my son's school and get him from school. I'd been out of town for two weeks in a row working. Can't really do it."

Asked what he's teaching his son, Meek pointed to a number of qualities he hopes he can pass down.

"I'm teaching my son about dignity, I'm teaching him about respect, I'm teaching him about being like I was and always being the man of the house," he said.

Moving forward, Meek wants to push for an overhaul of parole and probation systems in general, with an emphasis on actually helping people not get stuck in an unfair system.

"I'm speaking for the people who are actually caught up in these situations . . . People in this world make mistakes," he said, adding that he wants to "do something for the people who come from where I come from."

For more, including the inspiration behind the formation of the REFORM Alliance, see the video at the top of this page.

Next month, the five-part Amazon docuseries Free Meek—which counts JAY-Z as an executive producer—will debut.