Friday, April 06, 2007

Felons Granted Civil Rights in Florida

Yesterday Florida decided to come out of the dark ages and grant civil rights to ex-felons. Florida was only one of 5 remaining states that did not restore civil rights after time served.

Some of my fellow Republicans disagree with this. They vocally fear that this will allow the lawless to make the laws, and grant them the ability to get certain licenses that will admit them into our homes. But privately, they're worried that these ex-felons will vote Democrat.

Truthfully, the likelihood that ex-felons could sway the vote is ridiculous. Most of the ex-felons I've run into could not care less. And, neither could the American public. Only about 60% of us turn out to vote during our biggest election: The Presidential race.

But more importantly, we have to ask ourselves why we should impose additional punishments and restrictions upon someone who has already served their time. If we feel that those punishments and restrictions were not enough, then we need to revise our laws instead of denying them their constitutional rights.

Granted, recidivism (return to criminal behavior) is at 45% in the state of Florida. However, that is far better than the national rate of 67.5% (as reported by the Department of Justice based on statistics culled from 1994).

I would argue that some recidivism can often be attributed to the experience of ex-felons who, when returning to society, find that they cannot get a job because they were convicted of a past crime. Some ex-felons cannot return to any skilled labor whatsoever. And, as a result, they are either forced into a life of poverty (which also consigns their families to poverty) or they go back to the lucrative life of crime.

It is time that we allow ex-felons to prove themselves. It is not fair that we continue to treat them with the assumption that they will continue to do the wrong things. It is hypocritical to not want other people to judge us by our mistakes, and yet assume that ex-felons will never learn.

This move now gives ex-felons in Florida the chance to live as other human beings. And if they choose to repeat their crimes, they can repeat their time. Otherwise, they have served their sentences, and now it's time for them to move on.


Senor Caiman said...


I agree. Sure these people are worthless scum but they have served their time. It’s not like they’re going to vote or run for office.

This group is primarily made up of white trash that have been arrested on drug charges, blacks that have just started their criminal careers and Hispanics that don’t understand what laws are.

Excellent post.

Ed Abbey said...

I was not aware of this subject. I had always assumed that once time was served, you were once again Joe citizen with all rights associated.

I'm in complete agreement. Why force them to be burdens on our society instead of trying to help them break the cycle of violence.

The Lazy Iguana said...

Allow the lawless to make laws? You mean like Bush is doing?

By the way, Bush was once pulled over for DUI. So is he an ex felon?

Good thing for him back then DUI laws were weak compared to today!

PS Rush is also a felon, not convicted because he hired a good lawyer and was able to bully Palm Beach by turning the incident into a "political issue" - which it was not. And the State police? They were under the direction of Jeb Bush. But drug abuse is drug abouse! You should remind your Republican friends of all this :)

OH! And Jeb was involved in a Savings and Loan bank going belly up. Add that one in. He got away with that because he was just an officer in the bank, and not the bank itself. It was the high risk loans that were the problem - not him. Legal, but sleazy.

All this change does is allow poor and middle class convicted felons to enjoy the same rights that rich felons get.

This should never be an issue. Really. You go into jail, check your civil rights at the door, and pick them back up when you leave - along with the contents of your pockets.

I would imaging that ex-felons are still unable to buy a gun legally, unless they obtain clemency from the Governor.

The Lazy Iguana said...

By the way Saur - did you hear about the sex offenders that are living under the Julia Tuttle Causeway? You have passed under this very causeway. It is that tall thing passed under on the way to Monument Island.

Anyway the State knows they live there. Their sex offender documents list their known address as "The Julia Tuttle Causeway". Parole officers visit there every day.

It seems there is no other place for them to live. They have to stay 1500 or 2500 feet from "all places where children congregate". This means everyplace. What apartment building does not have an area where kids hang out, or is not close to some sort of park. Even if that park is just a vacant lot where kids play "loot the TV store" or "cops and good guys"(stickball is soooooo 1970s).

Makes it extra hard to get a job when you are forced to live under a bridge huh? And here I thought they were just regular homeless people.

At least they can always go fishing right from their front yard.

michelle said...

lazy iguana,
I don't think that 1500 or 2500 fee rule is correct. A sexual preditor just moved into a house near my child's school. His back yard is against the parking lot area where teachers park and parents drop off and pick up the children. I looked it up on line and according to the sexual offender/preditor site they can live anywhere. At least that is what I got out of it.

I called the school and the principal basicall just took this man's picture around to show it to all the teachers and other staff. Based on that alone I believe the the 1500 feet "law" is bogus.

Senor Caiman said...

The Lazy,

Fish is brain food but it sure stinks up the house when you cook it. I bet these people don't have that stink problem being out in the fresh air and all.

Stogie said...

Well Said, Lazy Iguana

The Lazy Iguana said...

Michelle - according to the CNN write up sex offenders can not live within 2500 feet of there children gather. But I think this is limited only to sex offenders who abuse children. So the guy living by the school may not fall under this law because he never messed with kids. But he still has to register.

So under the causeway lives people on parole. The fishing is probably OK there for things like grunt and pin fish. Maybe the occasional yellow tail snapper.

Anonymous said...

read the comments on troxler's blog

Jamie Dawn said...

I don't feel strongly about this issue either way.
I do think criminals have a hard time assimilating back into society after serving long sentences.
I can see why many employers wouldn't want to take a chance on them. It's hard to trust people in this world of ours today. Sad, but true.

Hey, I trimmed my blogroll down awhile back and took off anyone that doesn't drop in and visit me regularly. I return visits of those who drop in once in a blue moon by using the link from their comment. I will be happy to add you to my blogroll again. :)

United We Lay said...

Which civil rights weren't available to them? I know voting was one.

Anonymous said...

someone can be a felon for many reasons, it doesn't mean you killed someone or stole their dingo.

whats the difference between them voting or some asshat politician that is crooked as a dogs hind leg?

anyone for a caramel machiatto?

The Lazy Iguana said...

What is you just stole a freight train?

Paul said...

I agree except for two cases. Pedophiles must always be monitored and the right to bear arms is a no-no for convicted felons.

One other thing: many felons are not in prison because they are out on parole. They have not finished serving their time, so the loss of all civil rights is still in force for parolees.

Anonymous said...

i am a 36yr.old convicted drug offener,i was convicted in FL. because i was entrapped the fed. govt. could not and would not charge me. but, Fl. has no problem lying about thier I.D. or calling your phone and asking 4 drugs ,etc. then charging your for it.
also a person on felony probation also forfitts thier civilrights...