THE BILL OF RIGHTS FOR RETURNING CITIZENS

By Eddie Ellis and Bryonn Bain

Developed in collaboration with a grassroots think tank founded and run by formerly incarcerated professionals, The Bill of Rights for Returning Citizens demands Human Justice* for those incarcerated or returning home after paying a debt to society. This includes the protection of international human rights, and the opportunity to achieve the highest level of human development possible. This process must begin before, and continue during and after any person is incarcerated. To end the human rights crisis in our communities, driven by the "war on drugs," mass incarceration, and the prison industrial complex, we demand the following:

1. REMOVE THE BOX:

Remove the collateral consequences of past arrests and convictions that deny returning citizens eligibility for government funded housing, social and health services, employment and educational opportunities;

 

2. RE-EDUCATE:

Investment in opportunities for higher education in prisons nationwide by reinstating eligibility for Pell grants and Tuition Assistance Programs (TAP) to support human development and post-incarceration transition for people in prison;

 

3. RE-ENFRANCHISE:

Return the right to vote to all those incarcerated, formerly incarcerated, including those on parole, to support and facilitate participation rather than alienation from the democratic process and society;

 

4. RE-EMPLOY:

Any worker employed by a company while incarcerated must be offered a position by that organization for a living wage immediately upon release;

 

5. REDUCE:

Scale down the prison population 90% by 2020 by instituting a public health and wellness approach to address the trauma of chemical dependency, substance use disorder, inhumane prisons, policing, drug laws and sentencing.

  • Human Justice is a concept developed by the Brooklyn-based Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions -- the nation's first independent public policy, research, advocacy and training organization, created by formerly incarcerated professionals.

Lead Organizers

Bryonn Bain

www.lyricsfromlockdown.com

Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions

www.centerfornuleadership.org

Bertha Justice Institute

www.ccrjustice.org/social-justice-institute