The prison population in America is the largest in the whole world. Black men are disproportionately affected, with nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population being African American, according to the NAACP.
Jay Z, writing in a piece for TIME magazine, has decided to do his bit to help tackle the unfairness of the situation in supporting organisations such as Southerners on New Ground and Color of Change to bail out poor fathers who wouldn't be able to afford to get home in time for Father's Day.
"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," he wrote.
It went on: "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."
Jay Z, who was reportedly abandoned by his father at age 11, is about to become a father to three. Beyoncé is pregnant with twins and rumoured to be in labour. "As a father with a growing family, it's the least I can do," he said about his philanthropy.
The rapper and producer has also spent the past year working on a tragic docu-series about Kalief Browder, a young black man who was wrongfully imprisoned for three years after being arrested in age 16, for a robbery he insisted he had not committed.
Browder's bail was set at $3,000, and his family couldn't afford to pay it. He was then subjected to two years in solitary confiement and 31 hearings with no conviction before his release.
The Bronx native, who had been imprisoned at Rikers Island jail, committed suicide two years after being granted his freedom – plagued by mental health issues brought on by his treatment.
On this, Jay Z added: "The three years he spent in solitary confinement on Rikers ultimately created irreversible damage that lead to his death at 22."
His next project is reportedly producing a film and documentary series about Trayvon Martin, the teenager killed in 2012 by George Zimmerman.
TIME: The Kalief Browder Story, aired earlier this year in March. Watch the trailer below.
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