TRIO True ReIntegration of Offenders

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Background (Preamble):

Convicted persons who are citizens of the United States have been victims of a Constitutional violation for a number of decades. The main violation is that of "Double Jeopardy". Once convicted, they are twice punished for the same offense.

They serve time. Upon release, they are denied full citizenship (namely fair housing and equal employment opportunities). This contributes to a cycle of criminal activity with no real resolution.

Petition:

Committee:
Principal Author: Michael R. Anderson
Bill No: Delegation:

Title of Bill:
True Re-Integration of Offenders

BE IT ENACTED BY DISTRICT 23 OF THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS
...
34 Purpose: To Reduce Recidivism, Add Truth To Rehabilitation and Improve Society

A Bill To Be Entitled
True Re-Integration of Offenders

Whereas the United States Constitution protects citizens of the nation against discrimination, the classes do not completely protect everybody. This absence of protection is a cancerous cycle of poverty, crime and recidivism. The classes include race, ethnicity, religion or sect, color, national origin, age, sex, veteran status, familial status and disability. Lately, sexual orientation has been added into jurisdictions. None of the aforementioned includes citizens sentenced for criminal offenses defined as convicted felons.

Whereas convicted felons who were citizens of the United States of America prior to incarceration or conviction are victims of double jeopardy and denied full citizenship after completion of mandatory requisite punishment. The sentence should suffice as punishment. Unnecessary punishment after the sentence equates being punished and sentenced twice for the same offense. This is a violation of Amendment 14 as well as Amendment 5 of the United States Constitution.

Whereas convicted felons are denied employment, housing, public assistance, freedom of assembly and voting rights, they are in effect non-citizens or citizens being discriminated against. This forces people who would otherwise be considered as citizens to contribute to recidivism in the name of self-preservation.

Section 1: FULL CITIZENSHIP – Counters recidivism, poverty and alienation
A.) Restore voting rights to all ex-offenders (convicted felons) upon completion of sentences.
B.) Upon completion of satisfying a sentence, seal records (excluding sex offenses) from general public including potential employers, rental/leasing agents, local and state entities for public assistance (except drug convictions for food stamps, EBT and AFDC). Allow total access for all branches of government, specifically law enforcement.
C.) If the ex-offender does not incur any new criminal offenses, expunge records after 5 years of successful reintegration into society (excluding sex offenses). Maintain a central database that notes the record, but remove the record from the main search.
Section 2: EQUAL TREATMENT – Allows actual reintegration into society
A.) It will be henceforth illegal to discriminate against ex-offenders (convicted felons) simply because they are people with a criminal past. The past is irrelevant to the present unless a cycle can be proven (ex. Sex offenses, serial crimes). Many people who commit horrendous crimes are first-offenders. Their criminal past had no bearing on the crime because they didn’t have one. This extends to employers, housing/leasing agents as well as state and local entities for public assistance.
B.) “Ex-Offenders/Convicted Felons” are to be henceforth added as a protected class (group) against all discrimination equivalent to others protected under the Civil Rights Act of 1968 In particular, Title VIII of the Act, also known as the Fair Housing Act as well as the Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 as amended, 29 U.S.C. 621 et seq. (ADEA). The exception to this would be those convicted of sexual offenses where a cycle can be proven.
Section 3: ENACTMENT – Remedies multiple ills of society

This legislation is to be enacted 120 days after passage.

Respectfully Submitted
Michael R. Anderson
Citizen of Dallas, Texas
District 23



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