Posted: 26 Oct 2017
Date Written: October 2017
Crime control and prisons have featured prominently in electoral campaigns, yet currently and formerly incarcerated people are a profoundly disenfranchised constituency in the United States. This article examines the extent to which this population and its concerns have been excluded from American electoral politics. Starting with the philosophical debate on the extent of the right to vote, the article examines the scope of felon disenfranchisement in the United States, including comparative perspectives, policies in states that allow voting within prisons, and eligibility to run for office with a criminal record. The article also examines the problematic underlying issue of racial exclusion via felon disenfranchisement; the impact of disenfranchisement on civic engagement and recidivism; and the perspectives of disenfranchised, formerly incarcerated people. The article ends with thoughts on the prospects of bipartisan reform of voting rights.
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