Prisoners Deserve A Vote

The hatred and discrimination prisoners and ex-cons face when it comes to exercising basic rights is nauseating. Despite the fact that most people are in prison for non-violent offenses, and that more and more people have been proven to be innocent victims of a broken system, the vast majority of citizens prefer to treat all convicts like rabid murderers. If citizens aren’t petitioning for prisoners to be tortured and experimented upon, they’re calling for other human rights violations like slavery (forced labor). Even after a (wo)man gets out of prison, and deemed rehabilitated, they are denied work and, in many states, the ability to vote in general elections. There’s no reason for it. I’m convinced that the weak and insecure just want to feel as if they are higher up on the rung than other human beings. The need to appeal to classism as a form of self-confidence is… sad. 


Bill Dunn I think a reasonable concern is that prisoners may be in an environment more subject to intimidation and coersion than your average citizen. That said, I can’t think of a single reasonable argument for them to continue to lack the right to vote after getting released.


What proposition could ever be up for vote where intimidation was a factor?


“To some, the idea may seem risky, unnecessary or even unconscionable. But in fact, there are good reasons to embrace it. For one, our constitutional ideals support the right of prisoners to vote, and denying it violates the concept of self-government that the founders cherished. Granting this right also makes sense for the country in terms of politics and policy. As prisons have grappled with the explosion in their populations in the past 20 years, allegations of prisoner maltreatment multiply, and criminal justice reform moves to the fore of our political debate, we should consider that one of the best ways to solve these intractable and expensive problems would be to listen to those currently incarcerated—and to allow them to represent themselves in our national political conversation.”



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