One of the most popular rappers of all time, Nas, is a huge supporter of prison reform. And he’s showing his support in a unique way, just in time for Christmas.
As many of us already know, the prison system in the US is in much need of reform.
The problems associated with for-profit prison structures channel a plethora of issues that current inmates and their loved ones are feeling the full force of. An article by Mic, points out the following eye-opening statistics in regards to US prisons:
● The US has 5% of the world’s population, yet it has 25% of the world’s total prisoners.
● There are currently 24 million people in jails in the US.
● This represents a 500% increase in incarceration rates in the past 30 years.
● 1 in 28 kids in the US have a parent behind bars.
● 65 million people in the US currently have a criminal record.
● Minority groups and immigrants are much more likely to be arrested for less severe charges, and much less likely to have proper access to a defendant.
● Public appointed defenders will routinely have a caseload of 100 clients or more at a time.
In addition to this, privatized prisons are cutting costs more and more every year by changing quality of living standards including less nutritional meals and less comfortable clothing and bedding.
And a result of all of this, prison overcrowding has become a massive issue. Those currently in jail must face shared close-quarters living spaces, experience increased levels of mental illness and stress, and are exposed to more violence and suicide. It’s also more difficult for prisoners to visit loved ones on the phone and in person with so much overcrowding.
Simply put, we need big ideas for change.
The current state of US prison systems paints a bleak portrait of ‘freedom’. Nas and others with similar ideas are striving for this change to take place sooner, rather than later.
Nas has taken a unique idea, the ‘ugly’ Christmas sweater, and made it his own.
He’s started selling holiday crewnecks through his clothing brand HSTRY, which feature Santa Claus kneeling in front of some festive design work. This is likely in tribute to the 49ers football player Colin Kaepernick and his controversial decision to refrain from standing during the national anthem this year at a game against the Green Bay Packers.
The sweaters are available in three color variants, and the money raised by selling them goes to a prolific non-profit organization: the Center for Court Innovation.
The Center aims to turn the the ‘big business’ mindsets of modern US prisons upside down. It’s an organization which strives for ‘a more humane and effective justice system.’
These types of programs need funding. So do the overall efforts for changing prisons from a business mindset to one centered around true justice.
Support from people like Nas is tremendously beneficial to the cause of overturning our current prison system in the states.
Much respect for Nas and everyone doing whatever they can to promote change by raising money and awareness. We can all do our part by showing support, whether that’s by buying a Nas Christmas sweater, donating money, or showing support for those currently incarcerated.