Rick Scott defends Florida’s restoration of rights record

Rick Scott

Florida, by most accounts, has one of the worst records for restoring the civil rights of reformed felons. Per the Christian Science Monitor, more than a third of ex-felons who can’t vote live in Florida.

Despite a U.S. District Judge ruling that Florida’s practice violates both First Amendment and equal-protection rights of former prisoners, and must be remediated within 30 days, Gov. Rick Scott sees no need to change the system.

We asked why Florida was behind the rest of the country on this issue.

Scott held to talking points.

“Let’s remember,” Scott said, “these are — some of these individuals have committed murder, violence against women and children, domestic violence.”

“I think it’s very important to focus on how do we help victims,” Scott said, “rather than put all of our time into how do we help people that are committing violent crime.”

“When I go through the clemency process,” Scott continued, “I’m looking at individuals’ backgrounds to make sure they’re going to be law abiding citizens of this state.”

The Governor did not address what seems to be, based on the glacial pace of rights restoration in Florida, a penal system that doesn’t seem able to rehabilitate former convicts to where they can have their civil rights back.

Scott’s standards are quite stringent, with just 3,000 clemencies during his 7+ years in office. That is down from former Governor Charlie Crist, who offered 154,000.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Dan Lanske

    April 18, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    I agree with Rick Scott 100% on this.

  • David E Bruderly

    April 18, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    Hospital Corp of America committed Medicare Fraud while Scott was in responsible charge. While he managed to avoid criminal prosecution, his performance at HCA threw his judgment and moral character into question. Winning two governor elections has NOT erased his mismanagement. I do NOT trust this man — period,.

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