Hip-hop fans recently welcomed rapper Bobby Shmurda home. His release came after long nights in solitary poring through real estate books, surviving racial harassment, and coping with isolation from his family. “[I was] like an animal in a cage,” he said of his treatment in prison. But is he really free?
From respecting COVID-19 guidelines in nightclubs to refusing drinks, fans noticed Shmurda sticking to the rules of his parole. But, what are they exactly?
So, after years in a cell, this grown man can’t hang with friends or be out after the street lights come on? According to a Brooklyn reentry advocate, people have misconceptions about parole. It doesn’t mean you’re free. “When you’re on parole, you’re still serving the rest of your time; you’re just serving it outside of prison.”
If a famous rapper with "good behavior" like Shmurda has such a strict parole, it can only be worse for the average person. The criminal legal system creates a cycle that unfairly targets Black people to begin with. Then, parole is difficult to maintain – snatching us back into the system again. We need to support incarcerated people once they're released – and abolish this system that’s stacked against them.