FLORIDIANS FOR REDEEMABLE PEOPLE IS HERE!
We are working hard to bring you up-to-date information and resources for Initiative 22-18, the Offender Reintegration Program Amendment (ORPA), and Initiative 22-07, the Voting Rights for Incarcerated Individuals Amendment. You can also visit us on Facebook to stay up to date. fb.me/FloridiansForRedeemablePeople
At Floridians For Redeemable People, Redemption of rehabilitated individuals, Restoration of families, and Reintegration of individuals into society is at the forefront of what we’re working towards. ORPA is designed to be a catalyst that helps incarcerated individuals realize their goals and fulfill their potential. It will give incarcerated individuals the incentive to seek out rehabilitation and betterment by providing a mechanism for review for supervised release--basically, a right to review. You can learn more about ORPA by downloading our manifesto.
We are also trying to give voice to those who have been silenced through incarceration by sponsoring Initiative 22-07, the Voting Rights for Incarcerated Individuals Amendment. Our fathers and mother's, sisters and brothers, daughters and sons may be separated from us, but they are still members of the community, still contribute to their family's welfare, and they, along with us, are still impacted by those voted into office. Our incarcerated loved ones have just as much at stake, if not more, from the outcome of elections. That is why we are sponsoring Initiative 22-07 so that they have a voice.
Join us in bringing about positive change by supporting Initiative 22-07 and Initiative 22-18.
"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does."
William James, American Philosopher and Psychologist.
July 4, 2022
For the many years the fight for CJR has been going on in Florida there is little to show for the efforts. When we read about CJR being implemented it's always in other states. We've been so long disappointed here in Florida that it's come to be expected. We've been fighting battles on many fronts, everyone with their own reason and agenda pushing for their specific purpose, and we've lost focus of the war. The broken, flawed, antiquated, inequitable, overly punitive, unforgiving, unrelenting criminal sentencing laws. Mandatory sentencing, no parole, life sentences for everyone! - it's a modern day gulag where people live in rat and roach infested dorms with no air conditioning and temperatures soaring to 120°, have little or no opportunities for betterment programming or higher education, get overcharged for the simplest of canteen items such as a generic bar of hotel soap for $1.20, live out long sentences with no chance of redemption, and die horrible deaths without proper medical treatment.
My bunkie just died last Wednesday (June 8th) after serving 38 years. The medical service diagnosed him with ''nerves'' that was causing his rash, and prescribed muscle rub for his back ache that kept him up most nights for weeks until early morning hours. Turns out, he had stage 4 metastatic lung cancer. He died 4 weeks after having finally gone to the hospital after insisting on a medical emergency due to the pain. He was ''supposed'' to be paroled 2 years ago, but the Commission on Offender Review disapproved his residence - a house that he owned - and put him off another 4 years. Well, the system worked for the state--he died in prison. A life sentence in Florida under the current system whether parole eligible or not is a #walkingdeathsentence.
I have been in this prison reform/CJR fight for a long time, myself fighting a #walkingdeathsentence. Year after year I've seen no change to the broken system. In my 23 years of incarceration I have learned that you cannot change a structurally flawed system to make it sound. You have to take steps to replace the structures that support it. So as I mentioned months ago, I have an important announcement to make:
These past several months I have been drafting new proposed state constitutional amendments that address the structures of our flawed criminal justice system. I have been working on reforms that will bring fairness and equity and humanity to our system of oppression and division and warehouses where we can finally begin to improve this wicked problem that is Florida criminal justice. I will soon be posting these new proposed amendments on our FB (link below).
The first two amendments address the legislative process. One would increase the yearly session time from 60 days to 300 days--effectively making our part-time legislature a year-round legislature--so that there is enough time for bills to actually be debated in the legislative chambers instead of dying in committees. The second would mandate that all properly filed legislative bills be voted on by both chambers before the end of session. No more passes and cherry picking bills.
The third proposed amendment would give the jury a say in what sentence a judge ultimately imposes regardless of whether the state is seeking a mandatory minimum sentence. The jury recommendation would be required to be followed by the judge unless reasons for not accepting the recommendation are articulated on the record. By allowing the jury, who has heard all of the evidence presented, to have a say in the sentence ultimately imposed, I believe, will help to bring parity and equity back into the sentencing process that is lost when it is controlled by someone in legislature who knows nothing of the particular circumstances surrounding the offense.
The fourth proposed amendment addresses the state's Executive Clemency process, which is virtually nonexistent. The amendment would require the Clemency Board to decide applications for executive clemency during the term in which the board members serve. This would alleviate the horrendous situation of our state's clemency process taking 5-7 years on average just to be denied a hearing.
The fifth proposed amendment is an evolution of 2020's amendment 4, which gave back to felons the right to vote after completing their sentence. This amendment would remove from the state constitution the disqualification of incarcerated people from voting. Incarcerated people still have family and friends that are affected by the laws passed by those in positions of power; Incarcerated individuals are counted in the census reports that are used for redistricting and incarcerated people are taxed. It makes no sense to take away the right to vote simply because of incarceration. Furthermore, taxation without representation is illegal. If we expect incarcerated people to return to being functionable members of society, then we need to provide them with the tools necessary to do so. That begins with with the most basic and fundamental right that our country was founded upon--the right to vote.
These amendments are in the process of being certified by the Division of Elections. They will be state constitutional initiatives for the ballot in November 2024 (with enough support!). Let's build fairness and equity and humanity into Florida's criminal justice system together!
For more information on how you can support these and other reforms, follow us on FB (link below).
CONTACT FLORIDIANS FOR REDEEMABLE PEOPLE
Get in touch with Floridians For Redeemable People to learn more about our work and how you can get involved.
P.O. Box 520337Longwood, FL 32752