Ice T has joined the fight for prison reform. Ice T wants America to stop locking up so many people and destroying lives in the process. Despite the fact that Ice is an actor on a show about locking people up, he maintains that though the show is fake, the problems in the criminal justice system are real.
Ice T plays Detective Odafin Tutuola on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. He’s had the role since Season 2 of the show, way back in 2000. Those who would take issue with Ice T playing a detective with the NYPD despite all the controversy surrounding the “Cop Killer” song from his band Body Count in the early 90s would also have to look to Ice Cube and his song with N.W.A., “F**k tha Police,” despite his portrayal of a detective in Ride Along and its upcoming sequel. But Ice T portrayed a member of law enforcement way back in 1991, with New Jack City.
Ice T has sent out tweets linking to a petition on change.org that is building momentum, with a current count of over 40,000 supporters. The petition takes aim at the huge amount of people behind bars, the massive amount of people with criminal records, and the fact that these people are disproportionately people of color. The petitions goes by the #cut50 and #JusticeReformNOW hashtags on social media.
It’s sad that many people believe you have to break the law to end up in jail…. SMH.
— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) October 7, 2015
Even on SVU which is fake… We usually spend half the show trying to put some suspect in jail who’s innocent…. — ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) October 7, 2015
The petition actually supports recent moves by members of government. The petitions’s page on change.org gives an overview of recent actions in congress which they would like to see go through.
“Right now, both houses of Congress have introduced comprehensive justice reform legislation. In the House, the SAFE Justice Act would implement broad based, system-wide reforms to curtail over-criminalization, enhance rehabilitation, and support individuals’ re-entry into society. The Senate just announced the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, which would reform federal prison sentencing, reduce automatic and harsh punishments, and increase support for rehabilitation programs.”
Ice T isn’t the first celebrity to show support, but he certainly lends an outspoken voice to the movement. Recent tweets leave no question on where he stands on the issue. A while back, Ice T gave a candid interview to The Guardian, revealing his own criminal history, and his views on people caught in criminal lifestyles.
“From an artistic perspective, those rappers and artists that got out of the life, have great experiences to share. I think people can be entertained with other people’s pain. It’s exciting and fun to listen to, but to live it is something totally different. Watching the mafia is an exciting thing, but to be in it and to live every day with the potential of somebody blowing your brains out is not as sexy as it sounds.”
— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) October 7, 2015
Ice T has rarely been shy about expressing his opinion on issues, along with responding to any challengers to his views. It’s been a trademark throughout his career. He also recently gave a highly entertaining, live, play-by-play of a recent GOP debate, giving his views on all the Republican Party candidates and the issues that were raised. Maybe Ice T has a future career as a political commentator waiting for him.
In 2013, Ice T tried to raise the issue of prisons with his reality TV series Life After Prison, but the series wasn’t picked up. Nonetheless, he maintains that things need to change. The U.S. government has already announced plans to release 6,000 people from prisons as the prison reform issue gains traction.
In the midst of Ice T’s efforts as an entertainer and an activist, he’s preparing for fatherhood. Ice T’s wife Coco Austin is pregnant with a baby girl, due in about two months.
[Photo by Charles Leonio/Getty Images for Guess]