Clement: No Felons in Nursing Homes

Democratic Attorney General candidate Whitt Clement has gained some support in Charlottesville. I got a piece of e-mail the other day from Beth Sutton and Leigh Middleditch, which had been CCd to dozens of other folks in town, encouraging me to vote for Clement. Janis Jaquith (Daily Progress columnist, essayist for WVTF and NPR’s Marketplace, and, conveniently, my mother) got a similar letter from Ms. Sutton, and she was surprised by one of Clements’ causes: prohibiting felons from working in nursing homes. Given the recent hospital firings, this topic is more relevant than ever. Keep reading to see the original letter and Janis’ reply, which she sent to everybody that had been CCd along with her.

The Original Letter

From: Beth Sutton
Date: 6/6/01 7:34 PM
Subject: FW: June 12

Dear Friend:

This Tuesday, June 12th Virginia voters will go to the polls to select the Democratic nominees for Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General. I just wanted to take a moment to tell you about my friend, Delegate Whitt Clement who is running for Attorney General. Whitt is a graduate of the University of Virginia, college and law school.

In 1987 Clement was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, representing the citizens of Danville and part of Pittsylvania County. He is a past President of the Virginia Bar Association and has been rated as one of the top lawyers in Virginia. Now he is running for Attorney General and needs your vote this Tuesday on June 12th. Below is a short description of Whitt’s Senior Protection Plan. If you would like more information, click on the link below and remember to vote on Tuesday June 12th. The polls are open to any registered voter in Virginia, from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Standing up for Seniors
Whitt Clement

Whitt Clement will stand up to the nursing home industry by prohibiting felons from working in retirement communities. Families deserve to know that nursing homes are safe and secure. As a member of the House of Delegates, Whitt Clement fought for tougher criminal background checks on individuals working in nursing homes. As Attorney General, he will create a special task force to seek out and crack down on fraudulent scam artists that prey upon the elderly. This Tuesday June 12th please remember to vote for Whitt Clement for Attorney General.

Janis Jaquith’s Reponse

From: Janis Jaquith
Date: 6/6/01 10:23 PM
Subject: FW: June 12

I’m all for background checks, but eliminating everyone with a felony conviction paints with too broad a brush.
Imagine if every employer refused to hire anyone with a felony conviction. Hell, if I were someone with a felony on my record, I’d have to consider putting bread on the table any way I could, which may involve returning to my old ways. Is this what we want to happen to people who are released back into society?

Given the choice between someone who was obviously creepy and belligerent and someone who had, say, a felony marijuana conviction from ten or twenty years ago on his or her record, I’ll take the person with the criminal record.

And calling human beings “felons” for the rest of their lives is cruel. These are human beings who have been caught breaking the law, and have already paid the price.

How easy it is to gather votes by promising to protect the elderly from predators. Well, duh, who doesn’t want that? Show me a candidate who will support keeping non-violent offenders out of prison in the first place, and that’s who I’ll vote for.

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