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John Legend’s initiative to end mass incarceration

(Photo credit: @JohnLegend via Instagram)

(Photo credit: @JohnLegend via Instagram)

Grammy- and Oscar Award-winning singer John Legend has launched a campaign to end mass incarceration.

Last week Legend announced a multi-year initiative called Free America that seeks put an end to mass incarceration by helping to ensure that excessive penalties are not given for minor offenses.

On April 16 Legend performed at an Austin, Texas, correctional facility and took part in a conference with state legislators.

“We have a serious problem with incarceration in this country,” Legend said. “It’s destroying families, it’s destroying communities and we’re the most incarcerated country in the world, and when you look deeper and look at the reasons we got to this place, we as a society made some choices politically and legislatively, culturally to deal with poverty, deal with mental illness in a certain way and that way usually involves using incarceration.”

Legend says California’s passage of Prop 47 last November was a catalyst for his Free America movement. Prop 47 called for a list of nonviolent crimes such as fraud, forgery, petty theft, possession of small amounts of drugs, and shoplifting to count as misdemeanors as opposed to felonies.

“Once you have that tag of a felony on your name, it’s hard for you to do anything,” Legend asserts. “Getting those reduced to misdemeanors really impacted a lot of lives and we hope to launch more initiatives like that around the country.”

Next up for Legend is an appearance at a California state prison and a criminal justice event in Washington, D.C., that the “All Of Me” singer will co-host with Politico magazine.



3 Comments

  1. britishrose on April 24, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    good job john legend ..
    bout time celebriies with vision and clott get in here and save our black men , i respect steve harvey for his efffort to give a summer camp to black kids whom parents can not afford camp … these boys do nothng but find trouble in the summer when shool out they aint gonna stay home / black boys dont like video games in the house all day , they look for trouble ..
    that is why our prisons are packed . and the rest are mentally ill men who did stupid crimes cause they crazy ,, remember they cut out STATE FUNDING TO GROUP HOMES FOR RETARDED PEOPLE THEY DONTL LOCK THEM UP A MENTAL WARD THEY CLOSED MOST THOSE STATE FUNDED MENTAL INSTITUTES DOWN .. AN BLACK MEN SELLING DOPE GOT 25 YEARS FOR JUST CRACK . WHEN WHITE BOYS GET 2 YEARS FOR METH SELLING . .
    REALLY? so john legend is on a good mission but he better be careful cause whites dont like us saving each other , they feel it threaten their mission of demenishing the black race ., he may loose some fans .. but keep it going still john legend ..dont matter the gay rumors on you , your a good black man for looking out for others .. who you are is who you are ., i support a man looking out for others

    • Loki on April 25, 2015 at 1:18 am

      If they were real men they would keep themselves out of trouble.

      • Loki on April 25, 2015 at 1:19 am

        But they’re boys so they do stupid shit and get locked up.