August 1, 2013 – JTMP strongly believes in working with the community and those who have made mistakes in their past and have paid their debt to society and are trying to move on with their lives. One of the issues we support strongly is the restoration of voting rights to felons, and one of our favorite groups is working very hard on this issue, the Brennan Center for Justice. They describe how there are "nearly 4 million disenfranchised Americans who have been released from prison and are living in the community, but are still denied the right to vote." Some states and the District of Columbia automatically give felons their right to vote back once they have paid their debt to society, but there are still 35 states holding on to antiquated prejudices and discriminations against members of the community who have made mistakes in their past, have atoned and paid their debt, and need to move on with their lives. In 2011, the Brennan Center for Justice supported the "Democracy Restoration Act", that called for federal legislation to restore voting rights in federal elections to felons. The bill was introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), but later died in committee. JTMP calls for the current US Congress to pick up the cause, and get a similar bill introduced and passed restoring voting rights to these disenfranchised Americans.
Read more about the Brennan Center for Justice and their efforts to restore voting rights on their website here.
Also, JTMP supports the "Ban The Box" campaign, meaning employers and others cannot ask if that person has even been convicted of a crime on job applications, housing, public benefits, insurance. loans and other services. Once a member of society has paid their debt, some time has gone by, and the crime is irrelevant to the job or situation, it is a matter of privacy and belongs in the past. It is merely callously and unnecessarily prolonging the punishment, and preventing that person from re-entering and being able to to get by in this society. Read more and get involved with the "Ban The Box" cause by visiting the BanTheBoxCampaign.org website. (photo credit: Scott*/Flickr)