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Civil Rights Groups Want to Make It Easier For Felons to Get Jobs

February 28th, 2008 by flanews

A senate committee is considering legislation to make it easier for convicted felons to get their business licenses. Because of current laws, some past offenders have spent decades jumping from job to job. As Whitney Ray explains, changing the system could help keep some felons from reoffending.

Hear it here: Civil Rights Groups Want to Make It Easier For Felons to Get Jobs

The Clemency Board’s hearing was full of people who asked that their civil rights be restored. Convicted felons came with family members and pleas. Some left the hearing with their rights restored. Others went home empty handed. Last April Governor Charlie Crist made it easier for non violent offenders to have their civil rights restored. Now civil rights groups want the governor to help convicted felons get business licenses. Crist says he’ll take a closer look at the issue.

“Obviously it’s important that we make sure people have an opportunity to move forward. That they have a second chance to have gainful employment, be productive citizens,” said Governor Charlie Crist.

Philip Bain has two felony charges. It’s been ten years since his last arrest. Because of his record he can’t keep a job.

“Today you’re the bead winner. Tomorrow you’re at a labor pool trying to make ends meet,” said Bain.

The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition is working with state lawmakers to find a way for felons to get a business license without waiting for the clemency board to restore their rights.

“Redirect them out of the clemency process toward the state agencies and licensing boards that actually have oversight authority already of these occupations,” said human rights activist Mark Schlakman.

On April 1st, civil rights groups will hold a rally at the capitol, and try to convince legislators to change the law. About one million Floridians are living without their civil rights because of past convictions. Florida is only one of three states where a felony conviction can keep a person from ever having all of their civil rights restored

Posted in Charlie Crist, Criminal Justice, State News | 1 Comment »

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