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March 28, 2012

The Sentencing Project provides "Felony Disenfranchisement: An Annotated Bibliography"

I received an e-mail earlier this week from The Sentencing Project announcing this new publication, titled "Felony Disenfranchisement: An Annotated Bibliography," which "provides an overview of more than 80 journal articles and books on felony disenfranchisement over the past two decades." Here is the introduction of the document:

While the right to vote is a cornerstone of American democracy, a substantial and growing population of citizens is restricted from participation in the electoral process.  Current estimates suggest that about five million Americans are ineligible to vote as a result of having a felony conviction.  Depending on the state in which they have been convicted, these people may be disenfranchised while incarcerated, on probation or parole, or even after completing a sentence.  As a result of the dramatic expansion of the criminal justice system in recent decades, the number of people with convictions, and hence disenfranchised, is at a record high.

Since the first modern-day estimates of the disenfranchised population were developed in the late 1990s, there has been a surge of policy reform activity around the country.  Two dozen states have enacted various policy and practice reforms designed to either scale back the number of persons disenfranchised or remove some of the barriers to rights restoration.

Along with this movement has come a new generation of scholarship on the issue of felony disenfranchisement.  A wealth of studies and analyses have been produced in recent years that examine disenfranchisement from a variety of perspectives -- law, social science, history, and journalism.  Overall, these writings provide new estimates of the statistical impact of disenfranchisement, assess legal and moral perspectives on the policy, and place the issue in a comparative international context.

This bibliography provides an overview of the scholarship on felony disenfranchisement over the past two decades.  We hope that it will prove useful to policymakers, scholars, journalists, and others engaged in examining this fundamental issue of democratic participation.

March 28, 2012 at 08:56 PM | Permalink

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