Friday, March 30, 2007


Four states currently prohibit ex-felons (those who have completed their sentences) from voting for their lifetime--Florida, Virginia, Iowa and Kentucky. [Gov. Vilsack of Iowa did issue an Executive Order July 2005 that allows for ex-felons to vote after serving their time, though the ban remains on Iowa's law books.] Forty eight states prohibit felons while in prison (and on probation/parole) from voting. The thinking behind disenfranchisement is that the criminals have broken the 'social contract' and do not deserve to vote. Two states--Maine and Vermont--allow felons to vote while in prison.

If one of the purposes of prison is to punish the person so that they will not commit crimes against society when they re-enter society, it probably serves society well , at minimum, not to disenfranchise the ex-prisoners. This would re-incorporate them back into society, making them part of the polity. Studies have shown those who do vote after serving their sentences have less of a likelihood to commit further transactions against the state. All ex-prisoners, ex-felons, should have the right to vote. And, teaching prisoners about their rights and responsibilities as citizens while they are in prison might make them better citizens when they are released.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?