Friday, September 07, 2007

The New Civil Rights?

Interesting post over at Grits for Breakfast on the possibility of legislation to forbid employment discrimination against former offenders who have paid their debt and are now looking for work. Without that work, we’re just begging them to re-offend, cutting off our noses to spite our faces. I made the point during the unfortunate defense of Michael Vick by some NAACP and other types that there are enormous needs in this country for those individuals to be addressing and raising consciousness on much more vital than whether Vick goes to jail or, more importantly apparently, plays football again. This is the perfect example. Working for restoration of former offenders’ civil rights would help everyone in the long run and put a counter-narrative out there forcefully that all offenders are irredeemably eeeeevil. Corrections sentencing is bound up and tied with self-defeating, counter-productive narratives that drive our policies and budgets. A social movement built around forcing us all to consider alternative narratives of when a former offender does and doesn’t deserve another chance would be a good thing for the nation as well as the offenders. Here’s hoping this idea takes off better than bailing out a dogfighter.

[Maybe the Jena 6 case will be the trigger.]

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