Lauryn Hill has begun her three-month jail sentence for tax evasion, at a minimum security prison in Danbury, Connecticut.
Ed Ross, a spokesman for the US Federal Bureau of Prisons, confirmed to the Associated Press that the 38-year-old rapper had joined inmates at Danbury on 8 July. Hill will be expected to work in the kitchen and gardens, and sleep in a dormitory. After leaving prison, she will remain under home confinement for three more months, followed by nine months of parole supervision.
According to documents presented at her trial, Hill did not pay her taxes between 2005 and 2007, despite earning almost $2m. She pleaded guilty to the charges but fought the sentencing, asking for leniency on the grounds of her charity work and her estrangement from the music industry. Sandra Moser, assistant US attorney, argued this was "a parade of excuses centring around [Hill] feeling put-upon". Nevertheless, Hill's potential one-year sentence was cut to three months after she paid $970,000 in unpaid taxes.
In a blogpost last week, Hill blamed America's systemic racism for exacerbating her problems. "Why would a system, 'well intentioned', wait until breakdown or incarceration to consider rehabilitation, after generations of institutionally inflicted trauma and abuse on a people?" she wrote. "I shuddered during sentencing when I kept hearing the term, '[You must] make the IRS [Internal Revenue Service] whole'. Make the IRS whole, knowing that I got into these very circumstances having to deal with the very energies of inequity and resistance that created and perpetuated these savage inequalities." Hill also compared her sentencing judge, Madeline Cox Arleo, to a "grotesque slave master".
It has been 15 years since Hill released her only solo studio album, the acclaimed and bestselling Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. In May, after signing a deal with Sony Music, she released the single Neurotic Society.
A new Lauryn Hill album is expected before the end of 2014.
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