Pubdate: Sun, 01 May 2005
Source: Miami Herald (FL)
Copyright: 2005 The Miami Herald
Author: Anthony Lorenzo


Civil Rights

I can assure Roger Gorrin, who wrote the April 24 Speakup letter (Once
a felon) . . ., that I want my rights back. I have not been able to
vote more than four years after completing my sentence. I am a former
drug dealer who now is a college graduate in graduate school, and I am
concerned about voting. I was released and finished with my sentence
- -- no probation, parole, unpaid court costs or restitution. I applied
to have my rights restored more than four years ago. Yet I am still
barred from voting.

I can't wait to vote out of office politicians who have allowed this
Jim Crow law to stay on the books since the Civil War. I support those
who will end the war on drugs, repeal the Patriot Act, return my
voting rights and ensure that the machines we use in our elections are
secure and have a paper record.

I did almost three years in Florida prisons and finished my sentence
feeling antisocial, emotionally handicapped and poor, even though I
was in the care of Florida taxpayers at a cost of $18,000 a year. My
punishment was devoid of rehabilitation. The theory seems to be that
if you treat people inhumanely, then release them with no support or
training, that they will not go back to a life of crime.

Gorrin lumps people who harm other humans or steal property in the
same category as consenting adults who are harassed for nonviolent
crimes that harm only themselves. He also failed to mention that in
New York, where he was a parole officer, felons get to vote once they
have completed their sentences.

I filled out my application in January 2001. I am still waiting.
Felons who need an application or help filling it out can reach me ANTHONY LORENZO

- ---
MAP posted-by: SHeath(DPFFLorida)