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Jay-Z backs prison reform startup

Jay-Z in concert. Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images.

Promise, a provider of incarceration alternatives to local governments, has raised $3 million in venture capital funding from investors like Jay-Z's Roc Nation.

Why it matters: Thousands of Americans each year are jailed because of their inability to afford bail, even if their alleged offense is a low-level misdemeanor. It can be devastating for the individual, and expensive for taxpayers.