The father of two hasn't committed a crime in ten years.
On October 10th, The Philadelphia Inquirer published a piece titled, "Why are Pennsylvania judges sentencing people on probation for debts they won't ever be able to pay?". The piece focused on the situation of a man named Maurice Hudson, who is now serving a 18 to 36 month sentence for being unable to pay $1,941 in court fees. The fees are a result of a robbery that Hudson was involved in ten years ago (when he was 19), but he has not committed a crime since.
This headline and story caught the attention of Meek Mill and Michael Rubin, who partnered in founding REFORM Alliance, a nonprofit organization concerned with criminal justice. After reading about Hudson, Meek and Rubin decided to go visit him at a State Correctional Institution in Phoenix. They were especially drawn to the case because the judge who had sentenced Hudson over his debts was Judge Genece Brinkley, the same judge who repeatedly sentenced Meek for probation violations. Hudson explained that his $150 weekly salary as a janitor did not allow him to make the court payments while also having to take care of two young daughters with special needs. “I keep hearing it every time I come in front of you, ‘I’m not trying.’ How is it I’m not trying?,” Hudson told Judge Genece Brinkley.
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You must listen to this story of Maurice Hudson - If this doesn’t upset you I don’t know what will! Maurice was sent to prison for 18-36 months because he couldn’t afford to pay $1,900 in fines while he has two kids at home with special needs. Thanks to Samantha Melamed of @phillyinquirer for telling this story - WE ARE ON THIS!!! And this is exactly why we created @reform - we are going to go state by state to change the laws so situations like this can’t happen - What happened to Maurice is NOT ACCEPTABLE!! We look forward to Maurice getting home to be with his kids and family.
After Meek and Rubin's visit, they spoke to The Philadelphia Inquirer about their thoughts and plans. “It’s a case very similar to Meek’s. [Hudson has] been sent to prison two different times: Once for one to two years, another time for 18 to 36 months—never committed a crime,” Rubin said. “For me to see people in Pennsylvania going to prison for not committing crimes is something I can’t understand. … I think [Hudson] is a good person. He’s got three kids, wants to take care of his kids. And instead of being with family and taking care of his kids, he’s in prison for being poor.”
Meek discussed the strong relation he feels to Hudson and his situation. “We were like two brothers meeting with the same mother. He said this was like he was going to court for a murder. I understand because when you are in this position you don’t know how long you are going to be away from your family. It was the same thing for me.”