Disfranchisement of Felons Pro and Con

Topics: Crime, United States Constitution, Discrimination Pages: 3 (1045 words) Published: September 28, 2008
As we head towards the twenty-first century, we find that America has left segregation as a part of the past and has focused to promote equal opportunity. Though times have changed, 4.7 million convicted felons in twenty states are being denied the right to vote (Elizabeth S. Clemens, Elizabeth Hull, Hillary Potter). Should ex-criminals who served their punishment be denied the right to vote?

This issue first emerged in England back thousands of years ago when there were few felonies. The consequences of a felony were intense and would cost the victim their property, freedoms, titles, and sometimes life. These criminals were also prohibited to vote in local elections because their rights were dependent upon their legal background. The United States inherited parts of the English legal system including disenfranchisement of criminals because of its efficiency of decreased the crime rate. Restricting felons to vote was also strictly enforced during the early twentieth century when discrimination was significant. Disfranchising laws were set up including literacy tests, poll taxes, and the Grandfather Clause to keep blacks away from voting. Interest groups such as The Ku Klux Klan and The Knights of the White Camellia consistently tried to obstruct blacks from being granted Constitutional rights. Since a substantial population of criminals were black, states set up their own laws saying that criminals could not vote in order to keep a portion of African-American’s from voting Since a substantial population of criminals were black, states set up their own laws saying that criminals could not vote in order to keep a portion of African-American’s from voting (William Wallo).

Some believe disfranchising felons is a rational decision because it ensures the safety of America without breaching the law and it follows the retributive idea which does not discriminate in any way. Others believe it is a malicious act of the government because it is unfair to felons...
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