Getting civil rights restored became more difficult this month when Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet voted against allowing automatic restoration for nonviolent offenders. Now, a bill allowing former felons to get a job before restoring their civil rights won unanimous approval from the senate yesterday. University of Florida Samuel Proctor Oral History Program director Paul Ortiz says society made a huge mistake and that he is glad it was acknowleged.
“If they don’t get jobs, it doesn’t serve my interest, it doesn’t serve your interest. We need to work harder to find ways to integrate people back into the society. We do not want to create a kind of underclass of individuals who can’t work, who can’t vote. That only perpetuates inequality in the society,” said Ortiz.
He adds former felons should not be double penalized by being convicted and stripped of their civil rights too.