Needs and Challenges Serving Institutionalized Persons
The U.S. incarcerates over 2.3 million people. The U.S. has 5% of the world’s population, but incarcerates 25% of the world’s prisoners. Florida has the nation’s third largest prison population. Prisoners have no political voice, no say in how they are treated, and have almost no groups to advocate on their behalf. FJI’s small staff of 3 attorneys and 2 certified paralegals is the largest law firm in Florida whose primary purpose involves legal representation for incarcerated people and their families. To broaden our representation, we partner with pro bono attorneys and other organizations whenever possible. We represent prisoners in civil lawsuits challenging the conditions of confinement and aiming to reform inhumane prison practices. Where possible, we bring systemic conditions cases as class actions to maximize resources, have a broader impact, and to affect the lives of more prisoners. These cases can include:
• Deliberate Indifference to Serious Medical or Mental Health Needs
• Excessive Force
• Unconstitutional Conditions of Confinement
• Wrongful Death
Greater funding will allow FJI to hire someone to collect the data which the FBF wants collected for its reports, and also to refer more cases out to pro bono attorneys. FJI maintains a list of attorneys statewide who have expressed an interest in taking pro bono referrals. We would like to better develop the list and respond to interests in taking referred cases.
Needs and Challenges Representing Victims of Housing Discrimination
Being able to purchase or rent the home of your choice, and receiving fair treatment in the housing market, is vitally important in today's world. Where you live affects where you can work, where your kids go to school, and many other aspects of your life. Unfortunately, when the Fair Housing Act (FHA) was passed, many Americans did not have equal access to housing opportunities, and instead lived in a world where housing discrimination on the basis of race, disability, sexual orientation, children, gender, or religion was commonplace. Over the years, courageous victims of discrimination have stood up for their rights, helping to advance the cause of equality in our housing markets. Despite the enactment of the FHA and the sacrifices made by the heroes of the cause, innocent Floridians continue to be denied equal access to housing. No one deserves to suffer the shame, humiliation, and economic hardships caused by the wrongful denial of a housing opportunity. FJI is dedicated to redressing the harms caused by discriminatory housing practices. FJI attorneys have more FHA litigation experience than any other program in Florida. We bring our cases not only to help and make our clients whole, but also to help eradicate discrimination from Florida’s housing and rental markets.
Needs and Challenges Bringing Impact Cases for Poor Persons
. FJI is dedicated to improving the administration of justice throughout the state, protecting fundamental rights, and helping to create a more just society for all. To achieve these goals, FJI engages in Impact Litigation, both within our prescribed categories of cases and in other areas, aimed at institutional reform. Throughout the years, FJI has brought numerous cases-many of them as class actions seeking injunctive relief that have achieved a wide-ranging impact for a large number of people through consent decrees or settlements. In addition to our prisoners' rights and housing discrimination work, these types of cases have included police shootings or misconduct, First Amendment issues, homelessness, voting rights, felon disenfranchisement, and others.