…about those touched by the criminal justice system
Language is powerful. When we talk about people who come into contact with the criminal justice system and refer to them as “offenders,” “inmates,” or “convicts,” we cause these people’s offenses to linger long after they’ve paid their debt to society. Such labeling is both dehumanizing and stigmatizing, ascribing scarlet letters to people based on actions that arguably represent the worst days of their lives rather than who they are sons, sisters, parents, and community members. To read this post in it’s entirety please click here
See what CSI was up to at the NC Reentry Summit on March 11. View the Video
Communicating Effectively With Your Legislator
Don’t be intimidated. Legislators are in the business of representing the public’s interest. A significant part of their job is listening to people like you.
Ask to speak briefly with the legislator. If the legislator is not in his or her office, ask for their contact information and leave the Second Chance Alliance Action Request with the secretary.
Address the legislators as “Representative ____” or “Senator _____.”
Introduce yourself clearly. Tell the legislator your name, where you are from, and why you are there. If you are a member of their district, it is especially important for you to let them know.
Share your reentry story and/or support for second chances. This is the most important thing you can do on Second Chance Lobby Day. In just 2 or 3 minutes, describe the barriers that you have faced as a result of your criminal record, why the legislator should try to address these barriers, and how you would use (or have used) your second chance. If you do not have a criminal record, please describe why you support lowering barriers to reentry.
Be specific. Suggest actions the legislator might take, including specific bills he or she should support. Use the Second Chance Alliance Action Request as a guide.
Listen, and always be respectful. Listen to what the legislator has to say, even if you do not agree with what he or she is saying. You can state facts or personal stories to support your opinion, but try to avoid arguing with the legislator.
Share Action Request. Be sure to leave the legislator with a copy of the Second Chance Alliance Action Request.