Felon-Jurors in Vacationland: A Field Study of Transformative Civic Engagement in Maine
41 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2018
Date Written: August 1, 2018
Maine is the only jurisdiction in the United States that places no limitations on a convicted felon’s juror eligibility. Instead, Maine screens prospective felon-jurors using their normal jury selection procedures. In recent years, scholars have suggested that meaningful community engagement can help facilitate former offenders’ reintegration and criminal desistance. From that theoretical posture, a number of empirical studies have explored the connection between participation in the electorate and the reentry of former offenders. Those studies suggest that voting has the potential to prompt pro-social changes among former offenders. Still, to date, no research has focused on jury service as a form of civic inclusion that may foster successful reintegration and criminal desistance. Drawing on data derived from a large-scale field study in Maine, the present article addresses this research void, arguing that the jury is perfectly positioned as a tool for change, employable by jurisdictions seeking to facilitate the successful reentry of former offenders. This article further notes that Maine is the only U.S. jurisdiction that has exploited this transformative power of the jury process.
Keywords: Felon, Juror, Exclusion, Maine, Criminal Desistance
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