JAY-Z’s Roc Nation announces investment in anti-incarceration program

Promise is an app-based bail reform and community supervision service.

March 19, 2018
JAY-Z’s Roc Nation announces investment in anti-incarceration program JAY-Z at a press conference in New York City. January 18, 2007.   Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Roc Nation has been announced as a backer of Promise, a new technology and community supervision program aimed at reducing prison populations across the United States. Promise will be unveiled at Y Combinator Demo Day on March 20th by its creators Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins and Diana Frappier.


Promise hopes to create "a cost-effective and more humane alternative to incarceration," according to a press release. The process begins with financial assistance for those who cannot afford bail, then evolves into an individually tailored program to help each client fulfill their court-mandated obligations, like court appearances and drug testing. Promise will utilize a smartphone app to track participation and important dates via an "intelligent calendar," and will also offer in-person support and counseling for job-training, counseling, and more.

"Promise will help government agencies support those who would otherwise be in custody or who are on some form of community supervision-namely probation or parole," the company wrote in its press release.

“We are increasingly alarmed by the injustice in our criminal justice system,” Shawn ‘JAY-Z’ Carter 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 Phaedra, is building an app that can help provide ‘liberty and justice for all’ to millions.”

Promise does not have a public release date. With its investment, Roc Nation joins other companies like Y Combinator, Kapor Capital, and 8VC.

JAY-Z’s Roc Nation announces investment in anti-incarceration program