Monday, April 7, 2008

email from a felon's spouse

i got the following email from the spouse of someone convicted long ago for a drug offense. with her permission, i'm reprinting it in full.

her first-hand account of the impact of collateral sanctions -- even supposed "no-brainers" such as firearms restrictions -- offers an important perspective on a set of contentious issues.

Mr. Uggen,

My name is ___, and I am the wife of a convicted felon. My husband's felony is now 13 years old, and we both still are paying the price. He was originally arrested for a rolled up dollar bill with traces of cocaine on it. He was given a five year suspended sentence with a 3 year probation term. After successfully completing one year, he tested positive for cocaine use and was sent to prison for "treatment" for 120-days.

I ran across your information while researching a paper I am doing for college, I am a criminal justice student, with a goal of being a probation officer. I am continually discouraged by the prospects for a convicted felon in the world today. I feel they serve a life sentence after their initial sentence has long been completed: lack of employment possibilities, brick walls with help for gaining an education or housing assistance, etc. It is no wonder the prison doors are revolving!

I am interested in working with someone to change the laws in MO, in the United States for that matter to reinstate non-violent felons' rights after they have "paid their debt to society." My husband has been a model citizen since his incarceration, but continues to have "convicted felon" tattooed to whatever he tries to do. We have a son in the Army National Guard, who thought of being a police officer at one time - what to do with his gun and ammunition…because of course my husband might go murder 15 or 20 people with it, because he is after all a convicted felon!! I plan to be a probation/parole officer this time next year, same situation…what to do with my gun? I actually requested a copy of the law be sent to me a few years ago when I was working as a substance abuse counselor - we are not even allowed to have fireworks in our home!

OK, I will get off of my soapbox now. I just need to do something to work with someone to get these laws changed, rewritten, whatever! Please let me know what I can do!

Thank you for your time and patience, listening to me rant and rave!


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