A group of 11 formerly incarcerated citizens from California, Ohio, Louisiana and New York met with White House officials earlier this week to talk about policy recommendations for ex-inmates.
Joined by PICO National Network’s Live Free Campaign and the grassroots organization All of Us or None — both of which advocate for the rights of formerly incarcerated citizens — the representatives requested that individuals who complete their sentences and return to society receive full rights restoration, including the right to vote and the banning of discriminatory job and housing practices.
The group also proposed an extensive and comprehensive Department of Justice investigation into systemic abuses by police departments, as well as the launch of updated police trainings and community engagement strategies.
“Our goal is to encourage continued dialogue between the White House and the returning citizens community and to achieve a consensus on policy changes that will benefit marginalized communities, enhance public safety and value the lives of all God’s children,” Desmond Meade, state director of Florida’s Live Free Campaign, said in a statement. “It is important that the voices of returning citizens be heard at the highest level of government. Today we served as the emissaries of over 6 million returning citizens throughout this nation.”
According to PICO National Network, discrimination in the housing and job markets has left a considerable number of returning citizens homeless and unemployed. In Los Angeles County, California, alone, more than 12 percent of the 8,300 returning citizens on probation are homeless, while other counties reported up to one in five homeless, Al Jazeera reported in August.
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(Photo: Matthew Ragen/Getty Images)