Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Kick off for Felon's economic rights organization.

The first meeting of Full Citizen will be held on January 22 1 PM at t3026 Cherokee, St. Louis Mo. 63118
The purpose of Full Citizen will be to provide a path back to full citizenship for felons. I say path because it will not, cannot,and should not be and instant process. Regardless of the circumstances that caused one to break the law the public has a reasonable distrust of felons and felons must earn back the trust of the community.

Currently there are approximately nine million felons nationwide.

Under our current system a felon is prohibited from being licensed for 64 professions for life. The felon with a drug offense cannot get federally underwritten school loans for life. The felon cannot get federal school loans for life. The felon cannot get business loans from federally insured banks for life. The felon cannot get a mortgage for life.(Romona says I am wrong on this one but as a Realtor that was my understanding) Thus all of the paths to wealth in our society have been permanently denied to the felon.

Thus a felon has two choices. He or she can live in poverty or he/she can re-offend in the hopes of the big score. Felons younger than thirty frequently re-offend and older than thirty generally settle down into minimum wage part time poverty.

The children of these felons suffer from a variety of social ills. Single parent homes and sometimes no parent homes. Raised by Aunties who may be holding down two part time jobs they have little supervision and even less in the way of successful role models. The sentencing project says that two in three black boys age ten predict they will go to prison. The boys prediction is both logical and self fulfilling.

So the goal is to give parents a route to success and give children a positive role models and a rational expectation of their own success.

To do this voters must be educated to change the law for the interest of those effected and for the interest of society as a whole. Full citizen will utilize video journalism, blogging, and community activism to make a wholesale change to the laws of Missouri and eventually to the laws of all fifty states.

This is a tremendously worthwhile group. Nine million adults and untold numbers of children can be effected. The economic and social cost which can be alleviated are staggering. We desperately need your minds and your labor to correct the injustice which currently guarantees a permanent underclass.

If you have any interest please contact me at or call 314-497-6475, and if you know how to create an event on Facebook that would be a great start.


  1. I was surprised about some of the prohibitions. A felon can't get a mortgage? That was the biggest surprise. Thanks for the information. Now I worry for a good friend of mine who had spent time in prison.

  2. From Romona Williams:

    Mark, I read your post on STLAH and would like to point out the importance of publishing factual information to establish and maintain the integrity of group. Felons are not prohibited by law from obtaining a mortgage loan from a federally insured bank. A felon's ability to obtain a student loan is restricted to drug related offenses, not all crimes. In MO a felon w/a drug related offense cannot receive foodstamps.

    In 1996, Congress passed legislation that permanently prohibits individuals convicted of drug-related felonies from receiving Food Stamp benefits. Section 115(d) of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 allowed states to “opt out” of this provision1 and, to date, 36 states and the District of Columbia have exercised their option to “opt out” of the lifetime Food Stamp ban for individuals convicted of drug-related felonies. Missouri, however, is not one of these states and, consequently, does not allow individuals convicted of drug-related felonies to receive benefits from the Missouri Food Stamp Program.

    The fastest growing inmate population is women w/children and the chances of a mother being reunited w/her children is slim if she can't feed them, the law is a lifetime penalty and MO should chose to opt out. Given the disproportionate number of African-Americans in MO's prison system the legislative choice not to opt out is clearly institutional and systemic racism and should be treated as such. I strongly suggest the group forms a policy research & analysis workgroup.

    There's an existing and strong re-entry collaborative underway for a few years now. Is this group working in partnership w/them?

  3. Russel,
    any chance you will attend? Even if you do not please put out the word. Felons, friends of felons and just folks who hate injustice are all extremely welcome.