Coronavirus: Jay-Z and Meek Mill to donate 10 million surgical masks to correctional centers

by Duke Magazine

Rap stars Jay-Z and Meek Mill are to donate 10 million surgical masks to correctional facilities across the United States in an effort to contain the spread of the ravaging coronavirus in jails and prisons.

The surgical mask donation comes with a $10 million support from the CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey who in April contributed one billion dollars through a PLC that will invest in education and health.

The rap duo, Jay-Z and Meek Mill are showcasing their philanthropy through their non-profit REFORM Alliance. The criminal justice organization was constituted at the time of Meek Mill’s troubles with the American judicial system.

Bob Pillon, the president of REFORM Alliance, in an interview with CBS, explained the dire need to pay keen attention to the 2.3 million people locked up by the justice system.

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

In his view, Dorsey added “I’m grateful REFORM exists. The criminal justice system needs to change. COVID-19 adds to the injustices, and REFORM is best suited to help.”

America’s correctional facilities have had to deal with a increasing rate of coronavirus infections among inmates. A significant number of these institutions have had to cut their populations by a quarter, according  to the Prison Policy Initiative.

It could be recalled that in March, Los Angeles County released about 1,700 inmates to curb the spread of coronavirus as the number of confirmed cases continue to spike across the United States. 

County sheriff Alex Villanueva said the pardon and release of these inmates will drastically reduce the county’s jail population by 10 percent.

The United States alone accounts for a third of worldwide coronavirus infections with about 1.38 million confirmed cases. Over 81,000 have died, but experts are raising concerns of huge surge in the number amid the gradual reopening of the economies from lockdowns. 

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