Last Year, Jay-Z Called Out the ‘Exploitative Bail Industry’. Now, He’s Investing Millions to Fix It.

Jay-Z helps to finance Promise
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Roc Nation, an entertainment company created and owned by Jay-Z, has decided to invest in a newly-created app called “Promise.”

“Promise” is an app.  Its goal is simple: to lower the amount of people imprisoned in the United States.

Sadly, there’s not ‘an app for that,’ but the American prison system is screaming for serious reform.  And a major problem surrounds parole policies, which keep many non-violent offenders locked up for months (or years) on end.  In total, 62 percent of people in jail simply can’t afford bail, according to the Vera Institute of Justice.  A substantial majority of these people are booked on non-violent misdemeanors, but subsequently lose their incomes, jobs, or worse.

This also costs taxpayers a huge amount.  According to an estimate from the Pretrial Justice Institute, America pays $38 million daily just to keep these largely non-violent people on the inside.

The “Promise” app wants to change all that.  The concept was created by Diana Frappier and Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins.  Its goal is to lower the rate of incarceration in America, and also to help those who are unable to or will have difficulty defending themselves when they go to court.

Jay-Z’s Roc Nation is now part of a $3 million round being led by First Round Capital.  Others participating include 8VC and Kapor Capital.

“We are increasingly alarmed by the injustice in our criminal justice system,” Jay-Z said. “Money, time and lives are wasted with the current policies. It’s time for an innovative and progressive technology that offers sustainable solutions to tough problems. Promise’s team, led by co-founder and CEO Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, is building an app that can help provide ‘liberty and justice for all’ to millions.”

The app will be available to both people in prison and to different agencies.

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The app works in three steps:

1. It surveys the individual and assesses how dangerous the individual will be to the community (if at all).
2. It creates a plan which is based on the decision made after assessment which will ensure the right amount of supervision and support so that the person can be successful.
3. It keeps the individual under supervision so that they no longer will have any trouble with the law.

Finally, anyone who uses the app can check how they have progressed through the course of the plan created for them.  The app also aims to ensure that its participants will remain successful so that they later do not end up going down the same path of criminal activity.

Jay-Z has been known to support those who have been imprisoned and to support the improvement of the American justice system.  So it wasn’t surprising that his company is willing to support this project.

Last year, the rapper start protesting a ‘exploitative bail industry’ that targets blacks and minorities.  “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,” the rapper penned.

Millions of people are separated from their families for months at a time — not because they are convicted of committing a crime, but because they are accused of committing a crime.”

The app is now being officially announced.