Furthermore, the 15th Amendment is violated by ex-felon disenfranchisement. If you want more prisoner rehabilitation then illiteracy and drug abuse are greater issues. The American people and their freely elected state representatives must make their own decisions in their own states about when felons should have their civil rights restored, including the right to vote. Is the mostly male population of the prisons evidence of reverse sexism? But treating them with a little bit more respect and giving them a stake in how their society is governed is likely to be one of the things that helps. The movement to give felons the vote may be a sign that the tough-on-crime New Democrat is as passé as the Kerry campaign: for a whiff of the criminal-as-victim mind-set seems to surround the whole enterprise. Democrats are big Nanny Staters- which means many prohibitions- which means more jailbirds.
Preferences are most common in contracting, employment, and education, and also voting redistricting. Yet another argument for us to get out. That way, they will continue to repay their debt to society, long after they walk out of prison. It looks like you are a Prospect subscriber. While it is true that a disproportionate number of African Americans are being disenfranchised for committing serious crimes, their victims also are disproportionately black. On the one hand, you can observe the insanity at Evergreen State University to give one example and conclude that things have gotten completely hopeless and out of control.
If evidence existed that the Virginia law was racially discriminatory in its origins or application, many well-funded civil-rights advocacy organizations, as well as the U. The point of prisons, they say, is to inflict punishment, not to allow organizing. Governor Hogan is adamant that this is a bad bill. I'm not saying this is a great reason to keep them from voting or anything, especially in todays world where there are so many bullshit felonies, but during a time when committing a felony meant you did more than 'wrongthink' it made a lot more sense. I am very much grateful to Dr. How could we say that someone who has committed a felony should above others? And there are racial disparities in many areas. McAuliffe is basically making a mistake of re-trusting felons before they have re-earned the public's trust.
By and large the legal tools exist to end most race-based decisionmaking racial preferences and disparate impact , or would be if the Constitution and statutes were interpreted correctly. Further, Locke added, under certain circumstances we can lose even the rights we do have by nature. In many countries, people start earning money and paying tax before they are old enough to vote particularly if they leave school as soon as they are allowed to do so. I have elsewhere developed a non-retributive alternative to criminal behavior call the public -quarantine model, which I argue is more humane, effective, and philosophically justified see , , and. That is because whites represent a majority of the individuals in state and federal prisons, according to the U. The chief result of disenfranchising former inmates is to discourage them from changing their ways and fully integrating into society. Perhaps they are, I don't know, but I also don't care since I don't live in Virginia.
Human rights make it impossible to know with any certainty what the law is. Second, that rights come with responsibilities is not a slogan but constitutional theory, argued by the influential American jurist Wesley Hohfeld, which every undergraduate learns. It isn't even because they're limping around with a chronic case of political apathy. Far from judge-bashing, I regularly cite senior British judges lamenting the democratic deficit created by our human rights laws. Legislators should determine, based on non-racial considerations, what the qualifications or disqualifications for voting are and then let the chips fall where they may.
America also denies the vote to children, noncitizens, and the mentally incompetent because they, like felons, fail to meet the objective, minimal standards of responsibility, trustworthiness, and commitment to our laws that we require of those who want to participate in the government not only of themselves, but also of their fellow Americans. Ignorance is no excuse when it comes to the law. And that is just one example of one type of crime perpetrated by voting. The amount of time that has lapsed, the seriousness of the crime, whether it was part of a pattern of criminal activity, and what the felon did in confinement and has done since release: all are relevant, and the overall context matters. But the majority of prisoners are serving short sentences and, at the time of any general election, most of them will be released before any subsequent election and hence will be affected as a free citizen by the government elected.
At the moment, anyone who is serving a custodial sentence at the time of an election is unable to take part, regardless of the crime for which they were sentenced, or for how long they have been sentenced to prison. That waiting period can vary, depending on the seriousness of the felony and whether violence was involved. A segment of the population prone to criminal behavior needs to understand that criminal violations have consequences. Same thing really at the state level. His executive action likely violates the state constitution as well as the previous requirement of a waiting period and individualized review of petitioners. According to the Sentencing Project, 48 states prohibit inmates with felonies from voting, 35 do not allow parolees to participate in voting, 31 exclude those on probation and only two states—Maine and Vermont—allow inmates to vote. Will have make this decision — judges? They owe society and their victims a debt that can never be repaid.
Also, ex-felon disenfranchisement violates the 8th Amendment. In these three states, no citizens convicted of a felony are allowed to vote, regardless of the crime committed, absent government-granted exceptions to the policy. The European Court has not ruled that all prisoners must have the right to vote, only that a blanket ban is unacceptable. The district court found fault with the way Florida goes about that inherently discretionary process and directed it to change its process. So how can such people be allowed to vote? By that yardstick, restoring the voting rights of criminals once they've paid their debt to society makes far more sense than excluding them for life. It's set to hold a debate on whether some or all prisoners should be given the right to vote.
You can't make a claim like that without substantiating it. The right to property is another complex state to describe. If the state believes someone has reformed to the level that they can be trusted to live with others again, they are let out of prison. For example, as noted, federal law prohibits felons from possessing firearms or serving on juries, which does not seem unreasonable. First, I propose that only restrictions to personal liberty that have a demonstrated and substantial link to protecting public safety should be permitted.