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NCJ Number: 218420 Find in a Library
Title: Criminal Disenfranchisement Reform in California: A Deviant Case Study
Journal: Punishment & Society  Volume:9  Issue:2  Dated:April 2007  Pages:177-199
Author(s): Michael C. Campbell
Date Published: April 2007
Page Count: 23
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article uses a case study of California’s disenfranchisement laws to understand how and why California changed its disenfranchisements laws in 1974.
Abstract: The findings point to three main reasons why California repealed its disenfranchisement laws in 1974, a year that other research predicts should have produced a shift toward even greater punitive corrections policies: (1) the activities and strategies of reformers, in particular African-American legislators; (2) the presence of advocacy organizations; and (3) and the political context. Also emerging as an important element to the disenfranchisement reforms was the media coverage of criminal justice policy issues that helped to frame the public debate about the issue. The results provide insights into the relative weight of public opinion, media attention, political dynamics, and general national issues in the early 1970s. The author notes that the case study may also suggest that popular demands for punitive penal policies during the early 1970s may have been overstated. The author suggests that reformers effectively framed criminal disenfranchisement in terms with wide appeal in a political context conducive for Democratic Party initiatives. The research relied on a deviant case analysis to understand California’s disenfranchisement reforms in 1974. Data were drawn from a multitude of sources, including mass media for the weeks leading up to the 1974 election, relevant case law materials, legislative files, personal correspondence, other archival data, and legal and social science research. The analysis focused on framing the legislative changes within broader historical shifts in politics and the law. Table, notes, references
Main Term(s): Criminal justice system policy; Legislation
Index Term(s): California; Criminal justice system reform; Policy analysis
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