Mass Imprisonment and Mass Disenfranchisement

Marc Mauer, The Sentencing Project

This paper will assess the consequences of felon disenfranchisement laws that have resulted in the loss of voting rights to nearly four million Americans due to current or previous felony convictions. While these policies were initially adopted at the time of the founding of the nation, at various times since then their intent and/or impact has been racially biased, with an estimated 13% of African American males today currently excluded from the ballot box. In recent years, there has been a great deal of activity on this issue in state legislative bodies and prospects for reform are promising at the moment.

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Updated 05/20/2006