According to the Vera Institute of Justice, 62 percent of the jail population nationwide consists for folks who can’t afford bail, and many are incarcerated for non-violent/misdemeanor offenses. This is where Promise comes in.
The program is a de-carceration startup that raised $3 million earlier this year with participation from Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, 8VC and Kapor Capital. Last Father’s Day, the rapper penned an op-ed about the bail industry and how every year, $9 billion is spent incarcerating individuals who have not been convicted of crimes.
“We are increasingly alarmed by the injustice in our criminal justice system,” Jay-Z said in a statement. “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.”
Blogger Sandra Rose notes that “Promise doesn’t raise funds to bail detainees out of jail. Instead, Promise is a technology/software design company that sells apps that help government agencies track people who are released from jail under the First Step Act.”
The initiative is “an incarceration alternative” — in other words, it “replaces home confinement and ankle monitoring with a smartphone app to track “participants” and remind them when they’re supposed to appear in court or take a urine drug test,” the outlet continues.
The Promise team consists of mostly white males who are led by its biracial founder, Ellis-Lamkins. She responded to critics on Twitter who have accused her and Jigga of profiting from GPS monitoring by making clear that her company does not make ankle monitoring devices, the report states.
She failed to mention, however, that her company advocates for releasing non-violent petty criminals so Promise can profit by monitoring them for government agencies.
Essentially, the government can pay Promise to “monitor compliance with court orders and better keep tabs on people via the app and, if needed, GPS monitoring devices.”
Jay-Z’s involvement has led many across social media to accuse him of using the culture for his own financial come up. Do you agree?