For the 36,000 people released from prison every year in Florida, a felony conviction results in being stripped of civil rights, which for many represents a lifetime ban on voting and insurmountable financial obstacles. Rather than helping people become productive members of society, these barriers reduce civic participation, make it difficult to earn a living, and ultimately encourage recidivism.
The Prisoner Reentry Project was created and led by Dante Trevisani as an Equal Justice Works Fellowship, and included several forms of community outreach and education. For example, FJI is a member of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), a group of organizations dedicated to advocacy related to the restoration of civil rights process. The group members advocate for changes in felon disenfranchisement policies, assist ex-felons with the complicated civil rights restoration process, and educate the public on the ramifications of this system. The project also helped organize a system of information sessions inside prisons and jails to present information on the rights restoration process and the importance of political participation. Community workshops were held, and at these sessions people who needed help with the rights restoration process received help and guidance.
This project has recently ended, and although FJI is not actively conducting the Prisoner Reentry Project currently, the attorneys are still involved with this very important issue.