IN THE NEWS

2022

Committed to ending the disenfranchisement and discrimination against people with convictions.

FRRC
IN THE
NEWS

FRRC
IN THE
NEWS

Florida Rights Restoration Coalition in the News

We’re making a difference! Check out these news articles from 2022.

Florida Rights Restoration Coalition in the News

We’re making a difference! Check out these news articles from 2022.

Florida Rights Restoration Coalition in the News

We’re making a difference! Check out these news articles.

SWFL residents, organizations advocate for removing re-entry barriers for ex-felons (Returning Citizens)

August 17, 2022 – Ariel Maldonado, a North Fort Myers resident, says he’s struggling to move forward with his life due to him owing $49,000 in court fines and fees.

Joshua Underwood helped the drive to restore voting rights to returning citizens

August 17, 2022 – Joshua Underwood talks about how he helped the drive to restore voting rights to returning citizens and what getting his rights back means to him.

Elected leaders, experts to speak at two-day ‘Middle Class Summit’ in South Florida

August 16, 2022 – For two days this week, a South Florida nonprofit plans to help local leaders guide residents up the economic ladder to join the middle class and tackle issues like rising health care costs, unaffordable housing and criminal justice reform.

Court watchers urge change in Florida, which is No. 1 in prosecuting youth as adults

August 4, 2022 – Marquis McKenzie, the son of a chef and a corrections officer, was 15 years old on the day Florida prosecutors urged a judge to try him as an adult for armed robbery.

WESH 2 Investigates: Felon (Returning Citizen) voting rights group critical of recent illegal voting allegations

July 30, 2022 – The man who fought to restore felon (returning citizen) voting rights is critical of recent arrests, and the state admits it does not have adequate resources to determine if some are not eligible to vote.

Giving the formerly incarcerated the vote – and hope

July 25, 2022 – ‘I really don’t believe there is a better evangelist for democracy than someone who lost their right to vote and got it back.’

REFORM Alliance thanks Governor DeSantis, Senator Keith Perry for their work on bipartisan criminal justice reforms that go into effect tomorrow

June 30, 2022 – REFORM Alliance, the nonprofit organization founded by award-winning recording artist Meek Mill; Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin; entrepreneur and business mogul Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter; and other leaders across business, philanthropy, and entertainment, announced today that new reforms to the Sunshine State’s criminal justice system will go into effect Friday, July 1st.

Orange County jail holding resource fair to help inmates re-enter community

June 30, 2022 – A first-of-its-kind event in Central Florida is designed to help inmates prepare for life after serving time. Orange County Corrections staff at the jail say 96% of Orange County inmates return to the community. 

Returning citizens get help with job placement

June 14, 2022 – For formerly incarcerated citizens of Miami-Dade County, finding a stable, well-paying job can be a real challenge. In fact it’s known that those who’ve served time in state or federal prison are five times more likely to experience unemployment and are 10 times more likely to be experience homelessness.

Orlando teams with voting advocate to roll out program that predicts who might get shot or shoot someone

June 13, 2022 – A group that led the charge to restore voting rights to most people convicted of felonies in Florida is poised to take on a new challenge: Gun violence. 

Orlando business owner finds second chances through community cleaning service

June 8, 2022 – From behind bars to a community helper and successful business owner, an Orlando man is turning his life around and helping others do the same.

Fair offers employment and aid for those seeking a second chance in Miami-Dade

June 8, 2022 – A second chance is what released people seeking to reintegrate into society need. Miami-Dade County, in conjunction with felony support and employment management organizations, is hosting the 305 Second Chance Job and Resource Expo at the Downtown Miami Main Library on Friday, June 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

At Miami job fair for those once incarcerated, businesses can give hard workers a second chance

June 6, 2022 – Nearly 7 million people in Florida have a record. Every year, almost 1 million Americans are released from state and federal prison. This is an important moment — one of hope for a better life and a safer community.

Florida Rights Restoration Coalition helps Orlando combat crime

May 26, 2022 – The city of Orlando is moving forward with a plan to combat violent crime. In January, the Orlando City Council approved $3 million from the American Rescue Plan toward reducing gun violence.

State Attorney Brian Kramer announces new voter program to curb election crime offenses

May 18, 2022 – A Florida State Attorney is partnering with Supervisors of Elections to reduce confusion amid Amendment 4, while curbing the potential for voter fraud.

Coalition Willing to Cover Legal Costs for 'Frivolous' Voter Fraud Arrests

May 8, 2022 – The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition has announced the formation of a task force to defend former inmates against voter fraud charges. It follows the recent arrests of 10 former felons (Returning Citizens) who were registered or voted in violation of state law.

Convicted felons (Returning Citizens) in Florida want statewide database to determine voting eligibility

May 8, 2022 – A Central Florida group, run primarily by former convicted felons (Returning Citizens), wants a statewide database to determine voting eligibility.

“No American citizen should be intimidated into not registering to vote”

May 7, 2022 – Florida Rights Restoration Coalition leader fears state’s bully tactics could prevent returning citizens from registering to vote this election season.

Voting rights advocates call Florida fraud arrests form of intimidation

May 7, 2022 – The man who spearheaded a movement that resulted in convicted felons (Returning Citizens) getting their right to vote returned in Florida is demanding better record-keeping from state officials.

Voting activists launch statewide election integrity campaign to help inmates charged

May 6, 2022 – A Florida advocacy group is launching an election integrity campaign in response to an increase in arrests for voter fraud that have been made in Alachua County and in surrounding areas. 

When the Halfway House Is Prison 2.0

May 5, 2022 – Many organizations creating housing options for individuals returning from incarceration are more focused on profits than rehabilitation, and it can have dire consequences.

People with felony convictions received the right to vote. Now some face charges.

April 28, 2022 – Florida authorities arrested a Black man while he was staying in a homeless shelter and charged him with voting illegally in a case tied to Republicans’ drive to root out election fraud.

Rockford NAACP holds conversation on voting rights restoration in Illinois prisons

April 27, 2022 – The Rockford branch of the NAACP hosting a conversation on voting rights restoration in Illinois prisons.

Hate crimes, unfair policing: National, FL officials push to improve conditions for Black males

April 26, 2022 – Black males in Florida and across the nation face extraordinary challenges, from becoming targets of hate crimes to navigating a criminal justice system that can involve unfair policing practices…

Leading Boldly: Emerging Leaders on the Frontlines for Social Change

April 22, 2022 – Desmond Meade overcame drug addiction, homelessness, and incarceration on a path to advocate for returning citizenship to the formerly incarcerated by removing/reducing barriers for fully participating in civic life.

Tampa City Council to explore incentives for contractors hiring ex-felons (Returning Citizens)

April 21, 2022 – The Tampa City Council Monday directed city staff to draft an ordinance creating an incentive program for contractors that hire individuals recently released from prison.

The long, bitter fight to restore voting rights for 1.5 million former prisoners in Florida

April 19, 2022 – Desmond Meade, a nationally acclaimed voting rights activist based in Florida, can only remember two people who have disagreed with his push to restore voting rights for people with felony convictions.

April is the National Month of Hope National Month of Hope Founders Kick-Off the Hope Pass It On Campaign and Announce the HOPEE Award Recipients

April 11, 2022 – What does an author of Christian fiction, a sitting senator, a medical mobile unit, a television show, a formerly incarcerated social activist, a peace farm that teaches environmental awareness in Jamaica, an outreach that reaches the poor in Pakistan, and a publicist, have in common? You might say that they are all the same race or gender, and the answer would be no. 

Sheena Meade pushing 'clean slate' initiative around country

April 11, 2022 – Desmond Meade likes to say he doesn’t consider himself the best rights campaign organizer in his own family. That would be his wife Sheena Meade, he insists.

Florida’s Leading Voting Rights Activist Tackles Obstacles Beyond The Ballot Box

March 19, 2022 – As his national profile increases, Desmond Meade pushes for jobs, housing and dignity for formerly incarcerated people like himself.

Politico's 'The Recast Power List'

March 11, 2022 – Desmond Meade explains his ongoing work succinctly: “We are an organization that is made up of people who are closest to the pain.”

The Genius Speech That Changed My Life

February 25, 2022 – As an emerging journalist serving time at Everglades Correctional Institution in Miami, I spend most of my days following leads, conducting interviews and writing down details from the inside that most on the outside can’t — or don’t want to — understand.

Advocacy Day Gives Formerly Incarcerated Citizens a Platform

February 24, 2022 – Standing in front of the Capitol building with hundreds of people listening, Tanaine Jenkins told her story about struggling to be a business owner. 

Let My People Vote: My Battle to Restore the Civil Rights of Returning Citizens

February 18, 2022 – By now, you have probably heard of Florida’s Amendment 4, the constitutional amendment placed on Florida’s referendum ballot to restore civil rights for “returning citizens” or individuals who have had various interactions with the criminal justice system and lost their civil rights due to felony convictions.

FRRC Goes to Tallahassee for Advocacy Day 2022

February 16, 2022 – The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), along with hundreds of Florida citizens, are at the State Capitol today, Feb. 16th, for Advocacy Day 2022.

Voting Rights Activist Desmond Meade Calls for Criminal Justice Reform in Tallahassee

February 16, 2022 – The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition — with Executive Director Desmond Meade and hundreds of returning citizens in tow — spent Wednesday in Tallahassee to observe Returning Citizens Legislative Advocacy Day 2022.

Black Enterprise to Present Town Hall on Ending the Disenfranchisement of Black Lives and Bringing Equity to the Criminal Justice System

February 9, 2022 – The latest installment of the Economic Equity and Racial Justice Series, Feb. 10, focuses on the reintegration of ex-offenders into society and removing barriers to empowered citizenship.

The Working Homeless Part 9: Is the System Working?

February 4, 2022 – It’s week seven since Brent Grayson signed up for public homeless assistance in Lee County. He worked and waited through the holidays, the tornadoes.

Lesson From a 'Hope Dealer': Share Testimony and Pass it Along to Others

February 4, 2022 – My heart broke into pieces when I heard about the recent suicide deaths of 30-year-old, Cheslie Kryst, former Miss USA, and Regina King’s 26-year-old son Ian Alexander Jr. As we prayed for the families of these precious souls, I felt an urgent need to continue to spread the message of hope.

Let My People Vote is an Inspiration to Anyone Playing the Long Game of Civil Rights Issues.

January 20, 2022 – By now, you have probably heard of Florida’s Amendment 4, the constitutional amendment placed on Florida’s referendum ballot to restore civil rights for “returning citizens” or individuals who have had various interactions with the criminal justice system and lost their civil rights due to certain felony convictions.

Number of Juveniles Tried as Adults in Florida Decreases

January 7, 2022 – The number of children being charged as adults in Florida’s criminal courts has dropped considerably in the past few years and it’s a trend one local state attorney said should continue. Florida once led the nation in this statistic, but the law was changed to keep more of those children out of prison.

New Data Shows Impact of ‘Prison Gerrymandering’ on Florida’s Redistricting Process

January 6, 2022 – As lawmakers balance districts based on population, should inmates count as residents in the location for their respective prisons? Or should they be considered residents of the place they call home?