New Ad Highlights Legal Barriers for Millions of People Living with Past Convictions
The Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ), in partnership with the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, launched a new television ad running statewide in Florida. The ad is part of a larger campaign to educate the public on the legal barriers to success that exist for those living with past convictions.
“Our goal of this campaign is to raise awareness across the state and country about the hundreds of restrictions on employment, professional licensing, voting, housing, and more that people living with past convictions struggle with everyday,” said Robert Rooks, Vice President, Alliance for Safety and Justice. “Long after they have completed their sentences and paid their debts to society, people continue to face barriers to earning a living, supporting their families, and attaining stability in their lives. It undermines the ability of people to work towards redemption and the safety of communities, serving no one’s interest. It’s critical that the people of Florida and this nation fully understand just how many Americans are impacted by these counterproductive barriers, and how extensively they reach into every facet of people’s lives..”
The 60 second spot, “Time Done,” follows a man from his prison release and reunion with his family to various attempts to reestablish his life: volunteering as a coach for his daughter, applying for a job, and trying to register to vote. He is denied all of these opportunities due to a conviction, for which he has already done his time. The dejection and frustration he and his family experience as a result of these many legal barriers demonstrates the difficulty of truly moving on and finding redemption. The spot closes with a powerful question: When will our sentence end?
In Florida, there are 1.7 million people living with felony convictions and over 500 legal barriers preventing them from contributing to the economy and participating in the democratic process.
Over the last four decades the number of people living with a conviction has skyrocketed. Nationally, there is now an estimated 70 million people with a criminal conviction, 20 million people living with a felony conviction.
In addition to the ad, ASJ launched timedone.org, which will be the online hub for activities and information related to the campaign as it moves forward. Right now, there is information on both the Florida ad and an upcoming concert in Los Angeles, California.
The Alliance for Safety and Justice is a national organization that aims to win new safety priorities in state across the country. It partners with state leaders, advocates and crime survivors to advance policies to replace prison waste with new safety priorities that will help the communities most harmed by crime and violence.
The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition is a grassroots, membership organization run by returning citizens (formerly convicted persons) who are dedicated to ending the disenfranchisement and discrimination against people with convictions, and creating a more comprehensive and humane reentry system that will enhance successful reentry, reduce recidivism, and increase public safety.