Prison Reform Sparked By A Mixtape

When the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic in March, the world went into frenzies and lockdowns.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 began to ravage through California’s San Quentin State Prison.

Then in May, San Quentin Mixtapes, Vol. 1 dropped: a 17-track album that was written, recorded and produced within the prison’s walls.

David Jassy is at the heart of the Youthful Offender Program Mixtape Project. In 2010, the Grammy-nominated producer was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced 15 years to life.

Jassy kept music with him as much as he could throughout transfers between prisons. Once he got his hands on a keyboard in San Quentin, he started making beats.

His music was contagious there.

“Regardless of what set or gang they belong to, I just seen how fascinated they were about music and how they all lit up,” Jassy said. “People started smiling. If they heard somebody that was a dope rapper, they just all started smiling and nodding along and encouraging each other. And, it was different. I just knew this was a different energy from everything else that was going on in prison.”

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G HERBO TO THE RESCUE

Chicago hip-hop artist G Herbo is partnering with Alliance for Safety and Justice, a California-based criminal justice advocacy organization to donate 20,000 PPE protective masks to the Cook County Jail at 5 p.m. Thursday, organizers said.

The donation is made possible through the ASJ and its subsidiary project “Time Done,” which aims to knock down legal barriers that previously incarcerated people often face such as access to housing, education and employment.

G Herbo isn’t the only Chicago hip-hop luminary who’s giving back to a community in a time of need.

Earlier this week, activist and rapper Common called attention to how the pandemic poses a health risk to millions of incarcerated people in the U.S. via his criminal justice reform organization Imagine Justice in a campaign dubbed #WeMatterToo.

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#WeMatterToo

Jails, prisons and detention centers do not exist outside of the broader community.

What happens in jails and prisons reflect and have an impact on the broader society. In response to the growing risk of COVID-19 spreading throughout our jails, prisons and detention centers at an alarming rate.

Award winning artists, system impacted individuals, leading organizers on the frontlines and influential organizations from around the country have come together to launch…

#WeMatterToo