Fair offers help for ex-offenders10/19/07 Seán Kinane
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Today at the Pinellas Technical Education Center (PTEC), the Pinellas Ex-Offender Re-Entry Coalition held a showcase of services to help former felons start over and get re-acclimated to society. About 40 social services agencies and companies set up information tables or provided on-the-spot services or referrals. One of those social service agencies is Passport To Success. The director, Dennise Miller, described the types of services offered to the ex-offenders who visited their table.
Representatives from Narcotics Anonymous, WorkNet Pinellas and Reentry 411 were on hand.
Ex-offenders who attended the jobs and services fair also received help creating a resume and got a medical exam by nursing students from PTEC.
One student, Diane Lindall showed a young girl human lungs that had been blackened by years of smoking.
Marcus Wilson took the opportunity to get his health checked by the PTEC nursing students.
Phoebe Garrett is an ex-offender and said that these programs are useful.
Another issue that ex-felons have to deal with is attempting to get their civil rights restored. Florida is one of only five states, all in the south, which does not automatically restore the rights of ex-felons once they have completed their sentences.
In April, the Florida Cabinet, which also acts as the state's Executive Clemency Board, voted to make it easier to restore civil rights, including the right to vote, to some ex-felons.
Patti Harris is a board member of the Pinellas Ex-Offender Re-Entry Coalition and works with the Florida Parole Commission. Harris said even ex-felons who have been out of prison for years can have their rights restored more easily now.
“The Department of Corrections just did a historical review of all the cases that they had under supervision or in prison. They went back quite a ways.”
Florida Parole Commission, (813) 272-2642
Passport To Success, (727) 479-1800 x. 3324 or (813) 987-6700
Narcotics Anonymous helpline, (727) 547-0444
WorkNet Pinellas. (727) 324-2988 ext. 3367