Felons May Regain Voting Rights (If Restitution Has Been Made) |TODAY|
Submitted by dan. on 2007-04-03 19:59.
After weeks of behind-the-scenes lobbying, Gov. Charlie Crist appears to have the two votes on the Cabinet he needs to restore civil rights to many ex-offenders. Crist has called a meeting Thursday of the Board of Executive Clemency to consider changing a system that thrust Florida into the national spotlight as a state with some of the highest barriers to citizenship for felons who have served their time.
Crist promised in his campaign to support automatic restoration of civil rights without hearings for most felons who have "paid their debt to society" and completed sentences, including probation. Convicted sex offenders would not be included.
But the latest snag in the long-running controversy is a requirement that some felons literally pay their debts, in the form of full monetary restitution to victims, before they can regain the right to vote, serve on a jury or hold various professional licenses... .
The governor cited the case of Lisa Burford, who served 30 days in jail for stealing money from the bank where she once worked. A mother of four, she has not regained her nurse's license because of a felony, and still owes the bank $25,000.
"My heart bleeds for her," Crist said. "There's somebody who truly is trying to be productive and do the right thing. And we're going to say no to her?"
Crist told the St. Petersburg Times editorial board that the Clemency Board could waive the restitution requirement on a case-by-case basis.
"What we can do at clemency is wipe it away, forgive the debt," Crist said. "And that would be a possibility for her."
Restorative Justice Planned in Japan - NPA Hopes Victim-Juvenile Offender Dialogue Will Cut Recidivism Rates |TODAY|
Community Action (87)
Crime Prevention (38)
Law Enforcement (56)
Offender Support (76)
Public Education (132)
Restorative Systems (93)
Victim Support (130)