Backed by T-Pain and a former NFL player, crime survivors unveil 2020 agenda

T-Pain, ’T’ standing for Tallahassee, knows all too well the suffering caused by violent crime. (Photo: Capitol News Service)

By: Capitol News Service
February 19, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) — Crime survivors from across the state unveiled their legislative agenda Wednesday.

All week, they’ve been meeting with lawmakers and even rap artist T-Pain.

T-Pain, ’T’ standing for Tallahassee, knows all too well the suffering caused by violent crime.

“In 2017 with my niece being murdered in Tallahassee, you know and there not really being anything in place for any reconciliation or anything like that,” said T-Pain.

Speaking with survivors, the artist is supporting their push for reforms in Florida.

“Being that there's no momentum in the past, any pace and any step forward is progress,” said T-Pain.

But the group’s main audience is the Florida Legislature.

“We as crime survivors know where the gaps are and what can help us and our communities. We just need to be heard,” said Aswad Thomas with Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice.

Joined by former NFL Player Stedman Bailey, whose career was cut short when he fell victim to gun violence in South Florida, survivors unveiled their 2020 agenda.

It includes housing and employment protections for crime victims.

“Many victims and witnesses to crimes struggle with safety in their homes in their community,” said crime survivor Dr. Ladonna Butler.

They also are supporting legislation that would give certain prisoners the ability to earn more time off their sentence for good behavior.

Jo-Lee Manning’s daughter was killed in a hit and run involving a woman who had been arrested ten previous times.

“I'd be willing for her to get out of jail now if she could be a productive citizen,” said Manning.

Just a day before crime survivors came out in support of allowing prisoners to earn more time off their sentence, Florida law enforcement officials also stood on the fourth floor of the Capitol announcing their opposition to the idea.

Lawmakers who support the reforms, like Representative Shevrin Jones, said the legislature has a choice to make.

"We're either for criminal justice reform or we're not,” said Jones.

Last year, crime survivors were able to score some of the first major criminal justice reform the state had seen in 20 years.

Whether they can repeat that success is yet to be seen.

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