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October 12, 2006

Media coverage of felon disenfranchisement

I am pleased to see the media giving a lot of attention to the the Sentencing Project's important new report on felony disenfranchisement (discussed here).  The New York Times has this piece, and the AP provides additional coverage here.  The AP report spotlights these interesting Rhode Island developments:

Rhode Islanders will consider a proposed state constitutional amendment that would allow felons to vote upon release from prison; they currently cannot vote until completing probation and parole, as is the case in more than 30 states.

The measure is supported by a coalition of civic groups, as well as by Police Chief Dean Esserman of Providence, the state's largest city.  Its opponents include Republican Gov. Don Carcieri, who argues that felons haven't fully paid their dues to society until they complete parole.

Ryan King, the Sentencing Project policy analyst who authored the new report, predicted the Rhode Island measure would pass, and contended that most Americans support voting rights for people who've served their sentences.

More coverage of the Rhode Island measure can be found in this local news story discussing the impact of felon disenfranchisement in the Union's smallest state.

October 12, 2006 at 05:42 AM | Permalink

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Comments

A favorite line on the subject from a Texas songwriter:

"They took away my vote when I was busted for vice,
Now they choose the president by rolling the dice."

- Jeff Frazier, "Citizenship"

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Oct 12, 2006 9:17:18 AM

There's evidence showing that felons are less likely to reoffend where they have the right to vote. See Chris Uggen and Shelly Schaefer “Voting and the Civic Reintegration of Former Prisoners”. That makes it a public safety issue.

Posted by: Donald Braman | Oct 12, 2006 11:17:04 AM

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