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NCJ Number: 220745 Find in a Library
Title: Abandon Felon Disenfranchisement Policies
Journal: Criminology & Public Policy  Volume:6  Issue:4  Dated:November 2007  Pages:707-716
Author(s): Robert D. Crutchfield
Date Published: November 2007
Page Count: 10
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper argues that depriving felons of the right to vote (disenfranchisement) excludes them from one of the essential rights of a democracy and should be abolished.
Abstract: Denial of the voting privilege to individuals convicted of a felony is a widespread criminal justice policy in the United States. At the time of the 2000 presidential election, 2.3 percent of the voting-age population was prevented from voting because of felon disenfranchisement. Close votes in Florida in 2000 and in Ohio in 2004 may have had different outcomes if those convicted of a felony had been allowed to vote. Felon disenfranchisement is a sanction that punishes a felon long after he/she has been formally punished under criminal justice sentencing. Voting is the means by which citizens give power to their elected representatives to devise and enforce policies that improve their quality of life in the areas of education, housing, and employment. Felons typically experience deprivation in all these areas. Depriving them of the right to elect representatives committed to addressing those issues that could improve their lives is unjust, and it violates the democratic ideals on which America was founded. Further, no research indicates that felon disenfranchisement has a positive benefit for individuals or communities. Also, felon disenfranchisement has been historically linked to efforts to undermine the voting power of African-Americans, who are disproportionately represented in the ex-felon population. 34 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Ex-offenders; Ex-offenders rights; Research uses in policymaking; Social reform; Social reintegration; Socialization
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