TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – The Florida clemency board and Governor Rick Scott approved changes to the rules governing nonviolent offenders that will now prevent them from automatically getting their civil rights restored after serving their prison sentence.

The move, which happened with little debate, reversed previous law that allowed prisoners who had served their sentence, probation, restitution, and other requirements to more easily regain their ability to vote and other rights given to citizens, according to the News Service of Florida.

“Felons seeking the restoration of rights must show they desire and deserve clemency by applying only after they have shown they are willing to abide by the law,” Scott told the NSF when he introduced the measure.

The new rules would force nonviolent offenders to wait five years after they complete their sentence and other requirements before they could apply to get their rights back. More serious crimes would be forced to wait seven years to get their rights restored, the NSF reported.

In addition, ex-cons who wanted to own a weapon would have to wait eight years to start the process. Clemency officials would also be prohibited from waiving any of the time periods for reacquiring rights.

The changes were only given to board members minutes before the meeting and had little time to digest all of the provisions, or question them.

In the end, it will give the phrases “paying your debt to society,” and “serving your time,” a completely different meaning in the future.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service Of Florida contributed to this report.)

Comments (5)
  1. sas0069 says:

    Thid is another thing to add to the Governer’s BAD decisions..If you get into trouble and do your time you should get your rights back as soon as you have completerd your punishment including paying fines.
    A friend of mine was got out of prision in 2001 and his rights to this day were never restored. But he thought they were and applied for a voters card and recieved it. Also was called to sit on 2 jury’s.. Four years ago after finding out his rights were not restored, he applied to have them restored was told it took about one year, it is NOW 4 YEARS LATER and they are still not restored.
    This state is so messed up…Once youe debt to society is paid, after maybe 6 months to one year, your rights should be restored..The people who want to do the right thing and are should not still be paying for something when they did there time,paid there fees” UNREAL…It seems like discrimination..

    1. Money says:

      Nobody forced your friend to become a criminal ! He made his choices and should live with them. We don’t have to be sympathetic to convicted felons . Wait until your a victim of a crime and then have to see the con voting right next to you. A con should not have tjevsame right as a law abiding citizens . Especially the violent ones.

      1. ed says:

        @money so a person who was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was charged shouldnt get their rights back?? if you do your time you should get your rights back point blank period… some people are sitting in jail right now because they got in a friends car and it was stolen or they was sitting in in a car with drugs in it and didnt know and you think these people shouldnt get their rights back?? you must dont have family that has been to jail cause if you did you would see that your comment is stupid

      2. Money says:

        @Ed , no , ur right I don’t have family in jail . But, as a person that knows something about the justice system (Atty) . I know for a fact that inorder to be sentenced to prison you must score high on the sentencing guidelines form . Therefore , ur example of some first time offender being in the wrong place is pure bull!! Most of these individuals are career criminals and have committed grievous crimes . No pity here!!

  2. dude says:

    money is right if you knew what is wrong and right, why did he comit the crime.
    like they say you can run but you can’t hide period.