Felony Disenfranchisement Essay

Pages: 3 (1033 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice

Felony Disenfranchisement

Disenfranchisement affects both the individual and the community. It is taxation without representation in that an ex-felon pays taxes but obtains no benefits from it as do his neighbors.

This and the other denied rights separate him from those neighbors and lend a negative impact to neighborhoods and communities "coming together."

It becomes a horrific cycle of the ex-felon feeling that if society won't treat him as if he had paid his debt, then why should he treat society with any respect -- and he doesn't.

Felony Disenfranchisement

Disenfranchisement denies a convicted felon the following nine rights or areas of life: the right to vote, parenting, public employment, divorce, serving on a jury, holding public office, firearm ownership, criminal registration, and civil death.

Probably the most arguable of all these denials, is the right to vote, which in many people's minds, strips the ex-felon of his citizenship and violates the 14th and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution (Mitchell, 2004).

An estimated 5.3 million Americans, or one in forty-one adults, are denied the right to vote because of laws that prohibit voting by people who have been convicted of felonies. What some would call a fundamental obstacle to participation our democratic way of life is aggravated by racial disparities in our criminal justice system, which result in an estimated 13% of Black men unable to vote.

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Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia prohibit inmates from voting while incarcerated for a felony offense. Thirty-five states prohibit felons from voting while they are on parole and 30 of these states exclude felony probationers as well (Sentencing project, 2008).

Individual states have created their own procedure for the restoration of voting rights to ex-offenders but a significant number of these restoration procedures are so unwieldy that few ex-offenders are able to take advantage of them.

TOPIC: Essay on Felony Disenfranchisement Assignment

Over two million disenfranchised persons are ex-offenders who have completed their sentences. The state of Florida had an estimated 960,000 ex-felons who were unable to vote in the 2004 presidential election (Sentencing project, 2008).

The argument is that felons are not trustworthy voters, that they have no loyalty to our country, that they would interfere with the voting process if given the vote, that permitting inmates to vote is cumbersome from a logistics point-of-view, that few convicted felons would vote, and finally, that not allowing them to vote is a justifiable circumstance of criminal punishment. Instead, the argument goes, we should encourage felons' electoral participation in light of their likely return to society, and recommend acceptable arguments for a series of interim reforms. Those reforms should include: repealing disenfranchisement bans based on the notion of "doing the time for the crime" and allowing a felon the opportunity to return to civilian status, and pushing for a uniform federal ban in the interest of uniformity between state and federal conflicts on disenfranchisement (Mauer, 2000).

Results of Disenfranchisement

As a result of the many forms of disenfranchisement mentioned above, ex-felons tend to be alienated from mainstream society. For many ex-felons, this legalized exclusion is more often than not an extension of that which… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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