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Febbruary 24, 2011

Attorney General Bondi’s statement today regarding restoration of civil rights for those who have a past felony conviction ignores agreed-upon findings and recommendations from previous Governors, as well as independent experts that expediting and expanding – not slowing down – the restoration and reintegration process for ex-offenders will make Florida safer and save taxpayers funds.

The emerging consensus on needed reforms for Florida’s expensive criminal justice system includes moving non-violent ex-offenders from prison to productive, employed taxpayers as quickly as possible. Delaying the reinstatement and reintegration process, as Attorney General Bondi suggests, will cost more money in the short and long term and put more Floridians at risk while offering no benefit whatsoever.

Among those stressing the connection between successful reintegration and reducing costly prison terms and increased crime are:

Governor Jeb Bush’s Ex-Offender Task Force (2006)
Governor Rick Scott’s Law and Order Transition Team (2010)
Florida Tax Watch (2010)
The Collins Center for Public Policy (2010)

Statement from Howard L. Simon, Executive Director, ACLU of Florida:

“Attorney General Bondi’s proposal will benefit no one. Slowing down the restoration of rights process and delaying the reintegration of non-violent offenders into civil society only wastes tax dollars and makes us less safe.”


“We found that, under the current conditions, most ex-offenders will fail at leading law-abiding lives when they return home. This will result in new crimes being committed with new victims unnecessarily traumatized at a huge cost of hundreds of millions of dollars to the taxpayers and their communities. Accordingly, we concentrated much of our work in studying what it will take to keep people coming home from prison from committing another crime.” – Gov. Jeb Bush’s Ex-Offender Task Force Final Report.

“We know from long experience that if [former prisoners] can’t find work, or a home, or help, they are much more likely to commit more crimes and return to prison. … America is the land of the second chance, and when the gates of the prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life.” – President George W. Bush

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2011 Press Releases