INDIANAPOLIS — On Saturday, September 19, Indianapolis’ Office of Public Health and Safety and Marion County Jail partnered to register qualified inmates in Marion County Jail I to vote in the upcoming November 2020 election. Carlette Duffy, the Director of Re-Entry for OPHS, helped lead the efforts.
“This is not work for me. This is my passion,” Duffy said. “Doing this type of work, even on a volunteer basis in the community, has had more of an impact on me than any type of other employment I could have been doing.”
Duffy says the inmates they helped registered were surprised the opportunity was presented to them. They also asked a lot of questions.
“They were very excited to do it and it made them feel like they were part of the process because each person that came through, we thanked them for allowing their voice to be heard,” Duffy said.
Making sure the voiceless can find their voice is something very personal to Duffy.
“Being the first Director of Re-Entry who has a criminal history and who was incarcerated, when I talk to them, I let them know I was where you are right now,” Duffy said. “I was able to expunge my criminal history and that is through legislation that is through legislators who were put in place because we vote.”
Duffy says that last point is why it’s important everyone who’s eligible to vote is given the knowledge and information they need to do it.
“My goal and my efforts are to do whatever I can in my capacity to lay a trail for those coming behind me to make their walk a little easier,” Duffy said.
In Indiana, voting rights are restored to individuals who have been released from jail or prison. Individuals on parole, probation, home detention, work release, or people who are in jail awaiting trial who have not been convicted can also register and vote. The Indiana Code that allows voting rights for particular inmates and those released from jail or prison can be found here.