FLORIDA JUSTICE INSTITUTE (FJI)
100 SE 2nd St., Suite 3750
Miami, FL 33131-2113
(305) 358-0910 Fax
(305) 358-2081 phone
Focus area/description: FJI handles civil rights actions affecting conditions in Florida’s prisons and jails. Legal services provided to inmates also include damages suits and civil rights cases. No post conviction or criminal cases are accepted. Prisoners or family should contact this group by sending a letter or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The United States currently incarcerates over 2.3 million people in federal and state prisons and local jails across the country, meaning 1 out of every 99 American adults is currently confined to a jail or prison cell. With a prison population of 102,000 inmates and growing, Florida has the third largest prison population of any state, managing these inmates in 137 facilities across the State and spending over $2.7 billion per year to do so. These 102,000 inmates have no political voice, no say in how they are treated, and have almost no groups or organizations to advocate on their behalf. The small staff of the Florida Justice Institute accounts for many of the lawyers in Florida whose primary purpose involves advocacy for incarcerated people and their families.
We represent such persons in civil lawsuits challenging the conditions of their confinement and aiming to reform inhumane prison practices. These cases can include, among others:
- Deliberate Indifference to Serious Medical or Mental Health Needs
- Excessive Force
- Unconstitutional Conditions of Confinement
- First Amendment Cases (for example, censorship and religious freedom)
- Wrongful Death
- Medical Malpractice
Prisoner Reentry Project
For the 36,000 people released from prison every year in Florida, a felony conviction results in being stripped of civil rights, which for many represents a lifetime ban on voting and insurmountable financial obstacles. Rather than helping people become productive members of society, these barriers reduce civic participation, make it difficult to earn a living, and ultimately encourage recidivism.
The Prisoner Reentry Project was created and led by Dante Trevisani as an Equal Justice Works Fellowship, and included several forms of community outreach and education. For example, FJI is a member of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC), a group of organizations dedicated to advocacy related to the restoration of civil rights process. The group members advocate for changes in felon disenfranchisement policies, assist ex-felons with the complicated civil rights restoration process, and educate the public on the ramifications of this system. The project also helped organize a system of information sessions inside prisons and jails to present information on the rights restoration process and the importance of political participation. Community workshops were held, and at these sessions people who needed help with the rights restoration process received help and guidance.
This project has recently ended, and although FJI is not actively conducting the Prisoner Reentry Project currently, the attorneys are still involved with this very important issue.
Florida Justice Institute (FJI) confirmed this listing on August 16, 2013.