FICPM National Platform
There are tens of millions of people in the United States suffering the collateral consequences of a felony conviction. We are people who have been charged, convicted and branded with an arrest and conviction history. Millions of us have served prison time, and it is estimated that 600,000 people will be released from prison per year for the next five years while millions more will be placed on probation and face the extremely low standards of guilt for a probation violation.
All of us have human rights that are being abused by the criminal justice system. We believe that imprisonment or conviction on a felony charge should not result in a lifelong violation of our basic rights as human beings, either while we are on probation, in prison or as we make the transition from prison back into our communities. We are firmly committed to prioritizing De-Entry over Re-Entry, and oppose the concept of a Rehabilitative Industrial Complex that grows along with prisons. All efforts to educate, assist, and empower our communities should be within the context of eliminating human cages as a mainstream livelihood.
The Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People’s Movement is committed to the full restoration of our civil and human rights. We have drafted an initial platform to develop a common voice, to pursue a common political reality and to secure our common interest. However, we recognize that the current criminal justice system has never worked for people of color, poor people, or our community, and ultimately this system predicated on racism and torture should be dismantled.
Society’s reliance on prisons and punishment does not make our communities safer. The warehousing of human beings, mostly people of color, is an unacceptable substitute for social programs. Prisons are not a substitute for mental health care, and jails are not housing for the homeless. We work to develop political power and healthy communities. The criminal justice system is cruelly devastating and disrupting, especially in communities of color. After two generations of the Drug War, the American people are suffering far more than when it began. Over 2 million people are currently locked up United States prisons and jails. Over 2 million children have a parent behind bars, and 10 million children have had a parent in prison at some time in their lives. With the explosion of criminalization in the 1980’s and 1990’s, we have entire school systems facing the affects of parents being incarcerated or facing the discrimination of a criminal record.
We call on the U.S. to recognize the treatment of ethnic minorities under standards set forth in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We want an end to racial profiling, racial disparities, and the disproportionate imprisonment of people of color. African-Americans are admitted to state prisons at a rate that is 13.4 times greater than White Americans, a disparity driven largely by the grossly racial targeting of drug laws. These punitive drug laws need to be abolished. Women represent the fastest growing segment of the prison and jail population. African-American women are more than three times as likely as Latino women and six times more likely than white women to face imprisonment.
The dehumanization faced by gay and transgender people is unacceptable, both inside and out of prison; for example, transgender and gender non-conforming people are six times more likely than others to go to jail or prison. We oppose the institutionalized racism and various modes of discrimination within the courts and prison system, and are working for alternatives to incarceration along with the rights of those inside.
We firmly believe that it is as true today as it was when uttered by Fredrick Douglass “that power concedes nothing without a demand, it never has and it never will.” Our platform is being drafted to hold the weight of a movement, but it cannot stand by itself. This platform must be in conjunction with, and supported by, the pursuit of demands by formerly incarcerated and convicted people, our families, and community.