Over 120 People Brave the Cold for Legal and Reentry Services in Jacksonville
Community groups united to provide holistic assistance to underserved people affected by the criminal justice system in North Florida.
Jacksonville, FL (January 30, 2023) –
An arrest has lifelong consequences that extend beyond a night in jail. In Florida, even when a case is dismissed, that arrest remains on a criminal history report indefinitely. On January 14th over 120 people in Jacksonville, motivated by the prospect of a better life overcame freezing temperatures to meet with lawyers and social service organizations uniting to help them put the past behind them.
With a felony conviction comes the loss of over 1,100 unique rights. The most notable of these include the right to vote, serve on a jury, hold professional licensure, run for public office, and possession of a firearm. Working with 18 community organizations at Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church, Florida Justice Center led the charge to clear criminal backgrounds and restore rights to those in attendance. The event, sponsored by the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville and All Voting is Local, successfully gave people with arrest records a fresh start and a second chance at success.
Held year round, Florida Justice Center’s signature Second Chance Events are a way of bringing communities throughout the state together for a common cause: to provide access to resources in underserved neighborhoods. This event included community partners helping with housing, employment, food security, government benefits, fines and fees, immigration, sealing and expungement, driver license reinstatement, HIV testing, and more.
“The drive and dedication of community organizations in Duval County to improve the lives of residents is overwhelming. It’s no wonder that so many people came out on such a frigid day when there are so many amazing local resources to take advantage of,” said Florida Justice Center Executive Director Jonathan Bleiweiss.
Community groups included 904Ward, All Voting is Local, Catholic Charities, Changing Homelessness, Florida Department of Health, Florida Justice Center, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Harriet Tubman Freedom Fighters, JMZ Processing Mobile Notary and Fingerprinting, League of Women Voters Jacksonville First Coast, Lutheran Social Services, Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, Operation New Hope, Pace Center for Girls, United Way of Northeast Jacksonville/211, and Women’s Center of Jacksonville.
To learn more about second chances and to make a tax-deductible donation, visit FLJC.org
ABOUT FLORIDA JUSTICE CENTER
Florida Justice Center is the state’s only legal aid organization dedicated to helping people with justice-involvement. Authorized by the Florida Supreme Court, FLJC works to lower the effects of an arrest through free and low-cost legal services, as well as connections to community service providers.
With a mission to empower individuals by providing legal support, community education, and removing barriers to success caused by the criminal justice system, FLJC succeeds in helping thousands of individuals each year.