Progress being made on ReEntry/Second Chance issues!

With some recent good news on our ReEntry/Second Chance initiatives – including what looks to be a successful compromise on drug-sentencing reform – we thought it was a great time to send out the latest updates on what’s been happening.

  • Minnesota to reform drug sentencing laws: In late April, a compromise was reached between law enforcement, defense attorneys and lawmakers on drug-sentencing reform for Minnesota. Criminal Justice leaders called it a long-overdue, historic moment that could curb prison overcrowding and send addicts to treatment rather than prison. However, the compromise will need to move quickly through the House and Senate committee system to make the May 23 legislative deadline.
Supporters at Second Chance Day on the Hill
  • Second Chance Day on the Hill a success: The ninth Annual Second Chance Day on the Hill was a big success with 55 participants and staff in attendance from Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota. There was great energy and a shared purpose that could be felt throughout the day. In total, our team connected with eighteen legislators to share personal messages about drug-sentencing reform and voting restoration.
  • Second Chances 5K: On Sunday, May 1, a team of nearly twenty of our staff, family and friends participated in the inspiring first-ever Second Chances 5K in St. Paul. 800 men and women from Minnesota Department of Corrections facilities and 250 community members participated. Each participant received an orange key representing ‎unlocking potential, second chances and the second prison faced by those progressing through re-entry.
Participants at the 2nd Chances 5K
  • Restore the Vote: Voting restoration for those who are no longer incarcerated has another chance to pass the Minnesota State Legislature this year. The measure was added on as an amendment to the Senate Elections bill and so will be included in conference committee deliberations in the coming weeks. Restoring the vote would re-enfranchise approximately 47,000 Minnesotans who are currently ineligible to vote because of a felony conviction – even though they live, work and pay taxes in our communities.
Deanna Smiley Gulliford
Deanna Smiley Gulliford

Read our 3-part series on Why we advocate:

part I: Goodwill-Easter Seals’ efforts at the state Capitol.

part II: How we Involve our participants in the advocacy process.

part III: Our 2016 advocacy objectives.