Movement Starts To End Abuses Against Formerly Incarcerated


Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted Peoples Movement

​The damage of the War On Drugs continues long after the original arrest and incarceration. Discrimination against formerly incarcerated people lasts a lifetime, in the form of reduced employment opportunities, removal of the right to vote, and economic hardship.
“The War on Drugs is the biggest cause of disenfranchisement,” said Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted Peoples Movement co-organizer Pastor Kenny Glasgow. In 2008 Glasgow won a groundbreaking lawsuit restoring the voting rights of the currently incarcerated and those convicted of drug crimes in Alabama.

San Francisco Bay View
Rev. Kenny Glasgow of The Ordinary People’s Society helped win voting rights not only for formerly incarcerated people in Alabama — but for currently incarcerated people, as well, a first in the nation.

​​”As formerly incarcerated people we are hindered from becoming the productive people in society we actually want to be,” Glasgow said. “With this network we are serving our country after serving our time. We want to create harm reduction and public safety for all.”

Formerly incarcerated people from around the country will meet in Los Angeles on November 2 to ratify the National Platform of the Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted Peoples Movement (FICPM) and discuss an agenda for action.

Participants will discuss plans to register and mobilize one million formerly incarcerated people to vote in the 2012 selections and strategies to expand the “Ban the Box” employment rights campaign that has yielded legislation in six states, easing discrimination against job seekers with a conviction history. “Ban the Box” would remove the box on employment forms which asks about felony conviction history.
The new movement emerges at a time when the United States has the largest incarceration rate in the world. About two million American children under the age of 18 have at least one parent behind bars. An estimated 600,000 will be released from prison per year over the next five years.
More than four million people are on parole and 800,000 are on probation, according to the latest statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Justice.

Dorsey Nunn, Legal Services for Prisoners With Children: “The abuse of my rights as a formerly incarcerated person is not just an individual issue”

​”The abuse of my rights as a formerly incarcerated person is not just an individual issue,” said convening co-organizer, Dorsey Nunn, executive director of Legal Services for Prisoners With Children. “Sure, my right to work is important to me, but discrimination against our voting and employment rights has a huge impact on civic engagement and the economic well being of black and brown communities in general.”
According to Nunn, the convening is open to the public but only participants who identify themselves as formerly incarcerated or convicted people will be allowed to vote to ratify the National Platform.
“Where else has anyone asked us what we wanted?” Nunn asked. “Everyone else has always prescribed what we needed. We’re more than somebody else’s client-base, more than somebody else’s patient. The process to develop a national platform represents the first time we’ve asked ourselves, what do we want?”

United Church of Christ News
Susan Burton, executive director, New Way of Life Reentry Project: “There are 60 million people who are struggling with the quality of their lives as the result of mass incarceration in this country”

​”There are 60 million people who are struggling with the quality of their lives as the result of mass incarceration in this country,” said co-organizer and Los Angeles host, Susan Burton, executive director of the New Way of Life Reentry Project. “This meeting will allow us to come together as formerly incarcerated people in a way that’s never been done before.
“It will connect us and strengthen us so that we can push forward with a common agenda and a common goal,” Burton said. “Our goal is to end the discrimination against us.”
The gathering will include workshops for youth and family members and trainings on how to overcome barriers to voter registration and “Get Out The Vote” and “Ban the Box” that appears on employment forms asking for felony conviction history.
The FICPM gathering is scheduled to coincide with the International Drug Policy Reform Conference in L.A., November 2-5. The conference hosts, Drug Policy Alliance, will honor Dorsey Nunn, key organizer for the FICPM gathering, with the Robert C. Randall Award for Achievement in the Field of Citizen Action at an awards reception on Saturday, November 5, at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel.
Event Details
Date:               Wednesday, November 2, 8:30 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.
Address:         Watts Labor Community Action Center
                       10950 South Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90059