There is one thing that Remy Ma is very passionate about: prison reform. In a revealing interview with The Fader, The Bronx rapper discussed her own experience in the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women, and her thoughts on how to fix the private prison system.
In 2008, Remy Ma was convicted for shooting a woman in the abdomen over $3,000 and sentenced to eight years in prison. She was released on parole in 2014, but still considers her time in jail one of the most “traumatic” experiences in her life. “I’m almost positive I have some type of PTSD,” Remy Ma stated. “Almost a decade of my life was consumed by the prison system. Of the past 15 years [as a rapper], I’ve spent most of that time in prison as opposed to the ‘free world,’ so I don’t think I’m going to forget any of the things I went through, and I still have people that I have learned to care about that are there, and will probably end up having to spend the rest of their life there.”
Remy also detailed the things she saw while in the system. While she was surrounded by a strong support system who visited her almost every day, she noted that many of the women around her didn’t receive the same support. “The backbones of these families are women because a lot of the men are either gone or in prison for that matter, so seeing these women thrown away like trash just bothered me.”
The “All The Way Up” artist also commented on the prison system’s flawed sentencing method, referencing Bobby Shmurda and GS9 affiliate Santino Boderick, who was sentenced to 117 years in prison. Boderick was initially offered a 15-year plea deal, but rejected it and was ultimately slapped with a harsher sentence. “The point that sticks out to me is if you offer me 15 years, regardless of what happened at that trial do we end up at 117? How? That’s life,” Remy questioned. “When you’re in there seven years you get to hear so many different stories, and it’s disgusting the way this country operates off the prison system. We have the most people incarcerated out of every country in the entire world.”
Although prison reform has a long way to go, Remy shared her thoughts on how we could work to fix the issue. “The first thing has to be the de-privatization. We have to end the private prison system,” she demanded. As the second solution, the rapper suggested changing the rules and regulations that limit convicted felons. “There are certain rules where once you have a felony or you’re on parole or anything like that you can’t vote. What does me being on parole have to do with voting? If you’re in prison, you can’t vote. If you’re in prison, your right to vote has been revoked,” she said, listing some of the rules for prisoners. “These are the people that are making the laws… And when you look at the majority of people in prisons, they’re minorities. So who is this really stopping from voting? Who is this really keeping out of certain jobs,” she added.
And in her final thoughts, Remy Ma pushed for action to be taken against the prison system. “This system has to be attacked on so many different levels through so many different outlets just to get it right,” she said. “The guidelines are too large. They’ve done an excellent job sabotaging things.”