Group Demanding Truly Automatic Civil Rights Restoration
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 10, 2009
La Rhonda Odom, Racial Justice Project Associate, (786) 363-2718
Kevin Aplin, Brevard Regional Office, (321) 768-6262
MELBOURNE, Fla. – The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC) today announced that it will organize events throughout Florida to raise awareness of Florida’s civil rights crisis and demand a truly automatic civil rights restoration process.
Coalition partners will rally and hold a press conference in front of the Imperial Plaza at 6767 North Wickham Rd in Melbourne from 12 Noon-12:30 pm before visiting the district offices of Senators Altman, and Haridopolos and Brevard Representatives.
“The State of Florida can no longer afford to disfranchise people like me, placing barriers to employment and voting wastes scarce resources and hinders the ability for people to reintegrate and become productive taxpaying citizens,” said Calvin McWhite, a former offender from Titusville.
Florida’s civil rights restoration process remains a lengthy and cumbersome process for too many people with past felony convictions. Many people who are eligible and have completed applications are still waiting to have their rights restored by the Office of Executive Clemency, in some cases for two to three years. Although the changes to the Clemency Rules in 2007 were intended to make the process easier for some, the fact is that the process is a burden to personnel and monetary resources, which translates into a lengthy restoration process.
Today’s events around the state are designed to demand action from Governor Crist and the Board of Executive Clemency to get rid of the archaic, costly restoration of civil rights process in favor of a truly automatic and paperwork-free process.
“We are encouraging our legislators and the governor to support further clemency reform to automatically restore civil rights for offenders who have completed their sentence. Reducing the Parole Commission workload relating to rights restoration would allow them to focus more of their resources on programs that facilitate reentry, saving the taxpayers millions,” said Kevin Aplin Vice President of the ACLU of FL Brevard Chapter.
Representatives of the following organizations will be available for comment at the press conference, ACLU of Florida Brevard Chapter; the North, Central and South Brevard branches of the NAACP; the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation; AFSCME branch 79; the Brevard Chapter of NOW; and the Space Coast Progressive Alliance.
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