I found the comments section of this article particularly interesting. People bot black and white appear to be divided about the initiative to decreases mass incarceration. All of this in spite of all the economic and social evidence that shows the dysfunctional system of mass incarceration.
Should Uncle Sam say no to ex-felons voting?
Those who are released from prison are often prevented from doing many things such as voting. In an article by the Washington Post it states that, the 14th Amendment permits states to deny the vote “for participation in rebellion, or other crime.” This can be argued that prisoners should not vote; after all, the purpose of prison is to deny freedom. It was also stated that felons might form some kind of “anti-law-enforcement bloc” and elect bad officials. It can be argued that those who break the law lack the trustworthiness. According to the article by YouGov, 21% of Americans think that convicted felons should permanently lose the right to vote and 50% think that they should regain the right the vote. Convicted felons shouldn’t be able to vote because they have lost their rights to act as citizens of the U.S. due to their alleged actions against society.
As stated in an article by Katie Quandt in the Moyers & Company, “one out of every 13 African-Americans is prohibited from casting a ballot in the United States.” They lost their right to vote because of felony convictions. Depending on the laws in their states, some may regain access to the polls when they complete their prison sentences, finish parole, or complete probation. So, maybe there should be a process where an ex-con who has proven to be a good citizen can petition to get voting rights reinstated? It should not be automatic though and should be a very careful decision. But, like said in a letter to the editor of the article, Disenfranchised Felon, in the New York Times, “If you are not willing to follow the law, you cannot demand the right to elect those who make the law.”
What do you think should those (ex-felons) who have paid their debt to society be able to vote?
I am interested in the incarceration rate in the United States and its affects on our nation. We have incarcerated so many Americans and have created a system that hurts our society instead of protecting it. America is damaged and our prison system might have contributed. We are weakened by the over population in prisons today. This affect has caused Americans to pay a great deal more in taxes for the ability to hold these inmates in prison. The justice system isn’t properly screening these individuals and their crimes. They instead bunch all the lawbreakers together and host them on Americans tap. Once released from prison these individuals have a difficult time finding a job and properly contributing to society. This system only pushes these individuals into a vicious cycle and encourages them to make repeat mistakes. What I find most disheartening is the racial gap in our incarnation rate. In a Stanford article just written this past year, mentions that African Americans make up 12% of the United States population and 40% of the inmates in our justice system. You would think, as a nation who prides itself on equality would be a little more equal. These are the reasons I decided to focus my attention on this particular subject. I want to learn more about where we are as of now and what ideas are in place for our future. I am currently senior in college pursuing a degree in communications with the hopes of working for a public relations firm in the near future.
Tonn, S. (2014, August 6). Stanford research suggests support for incarceration mirrors whites’ perception of black prison populations. Retrieved March 3, 2015, from http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/august/prison-black-laws-080614.html