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Albemarle County woman has rights restored, encourages others to engage in process

Gilie Garth
Gilie Garth
Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 5:42 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - After a 20 year battle with addiction, time in prison, and having civil rights stripped, an Albemarle County woman is coming out on top.

About 20 years ago, Gilie Garth was charged with a felony for prescription fraud. She never thought she would be able to practice nursing, drive, or vote ever again and lost eligibility for programs like food stamps and Medicaid.

Gilie’s driver’s license and ability to vote were both revoked.

“It’s just another blow, it’s one of those things that could send you spiraling downward even further,” Garth said. “I beat myself up and said you deserve this. You deserve everything that’s coming to you.”

In 2015 Gilie decided drugs and despair would not own her life any longer. “It’s much easier these days to get your rights restored. The last administration made it easier.”

Governor Ralph Northam changed the eligibility criteria to have civil rights restored in March, 2021. Now, anyone convicted of a felony that has served their time can apply.

“I’m all about consequences and taking responsibility for behavior. When you’re already doing that in the way of incarceration, then I don’t understand why people shouldn’t have their rights,” Garth said.

Garth says having her rights restored helps her feel like a citizen again and she voted in the most recent general election.

If you or someone you know is looking to have their rights restored, click here.

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