Waymon Hudson

Civil Rights Restored to Florida Ex-Felons

Filed By Waymon Hudson | June 19, 2008 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Charlie Crist, John McCain, vice president

At a summit to help keep down repeat criminals, Governor Charlie Crist announced that over 115,000 former felons who completed their sentences have had their civil rights restored since a new state rule went into effect 14 months ago. Those rights include voting and the ability to get state and local licenses for certain types of jobs.

Said Crist:

Once somebody has truly paid their debt to society, we should recognize it. We should welcome them back into society and give them that second chance. Who doesn't deserve a second chance?

Before, Florida was among a handful of states that refused to automatically restore felons' rights after they completed their sentences.

It is encouraging that Crist is moving to providing inmates more drug and alcohol abuse treatment, education and training need to find jobs after they are released so they won't return to crime. I find it puzzling, however, that he can be so forward thinking and progressive on some issues while on others he lags so far behind.

Crist has been on both sides of many important issues. He signed the petition to get the so-called "Marriage Protection" Amendment on the ballot in November (although he has since said it is "not a priority for him"). He has allowed for the anti-LGBT group "Family First" to collect funds from a checkbox on the back of governmental forms. He was against off-shore drilling in Florida, now is for it.

If Crist is truly trying to be a vice-presidential candidate for McCain, he certainly has a few necessary qualities down to work well with McCain: flip-flopping and pandering.

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That whole "a felon can't vote" thing always struck me as dumb. They've paid their debt to society - that shouldn't mean we then deny them one of the most basic American freedoms.