The challenges of overcoming a felony conviction for a Florida criminal charge have just been made harder by new changes passed by Florida’s Executive Clemency Board. Under the new rules even nonviolent offenders will have to wait five years before they may be considered for the restoration of their civil rights. More serious felony convictions now require a waiting period of seven years and are subject to a hearing. The restoration of the right to possess a firearm takes even longer.
Restrictions of the restoration of civil rights not only affects a person’s right to vote, but also to hold public office, sit on a jury, and perhaps most importantly obtain certain state occupational licenses.
According to Erika Wood, the director of the Right to Vote Project at NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice, Florida’s restrictions on felons is now the most restrictive in the country.
People who have been convicted of a felony charge and successfully completed their sentence deserve to be treated better. The actions of Florida’s Executive Clemency Board have just made it harder for convicted felons to reintegrate into society and in turn are going to force them to remain criminals.