Literature Review

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Coleman Literature Review 1

Literature Review
Convicted Felons: Should they be allowed to vote?
Writing II
Professor: Melissa Piumelli

Coleman Literature Review 2 Introduction:
The term disenfranchisement or taking away a criminals right to vote, has been around since ancient Greece and Rome Eras. In Europe, a condition called “civil death” involves the forfeiture of property, the loss of the right to appear in court and a prohibition on entering into contracts, as well as loss of voting rights. Convicted felons of any crime should be allowed the chance to show that they can be productive citizens again. Ex-cons are continuously persecuted for a past action and not given the opportunity to prove that a change has occurred. This unfortunate event will result in the same person returning to imprisonment due to lack of control, after being told that he or she no longer holds any civil rights. “According to The Sentence Project, 5.3 million Americans (1 in 40 adults) were unable to vote due to a felony conviction in the 2008 elections. This included 1.4 million African American men, more than 676,000 women, and 2.1 million ex-offenders who have completed their sentences.” No citizen would see it to be rational to penalize felons long after they have left prison or have completed parole or probation. There are many types of laws in place to deny an ex-con to run for office, retain a professional license, such as an attorney, or to serve as a publicly traded (http://www.nesl.org/legistatures-elections/elections/felon-voting-rights.aspx)

Coleman Literature Review 3 company. In most states, a convicted felon loses his right to vote while incarcerated. However, 14 states have permanently stripped their ex-cons of all of their civil rights. Few states do not choose to use disenfranchisement as a punishment for a felony crime. There are states that permit prisoners to vote from the jail cell via absentee voting ballot. Unfortunately, the count from those allowed to vote to those who are disenfranchised is in the hundreds of thousands and continues to grow rapidly every day. According to Benjamin Jealous of the NAACP, Florida is the number one state of felons suffering from disenfranchisement. In the year of 2007, NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous, kicked off a campaign to help the disenfranchised to become active citizens in their communities again. “What this comes down to really is, do you think voting is a right or is it a privilege? Because if voting is a right, people who have paid their debt to society should be allowed to vote,” Jealous said on a Tuesday in March 2007 on “CNN Newsroom.” Jealous isn’t the only one that has these feelings of unfairness, when it comes to citizenship. This hits home tremendously for the African American communities who suffer from disenfranchisement the most. There are many activist and supporters who feel that if you are born of the United States of America, then you should be able to regain your civil rights, no matter how many falls into the law that you may have had. This is the “American Dream” to start for the bottom and rebuild yourself up to a person that can be useful in society again. The then Republican, now Democrat Charlie Christ of Florida, signed a reform to allow former felons who have completed their sentences to more easily get their voting rights back. This reform was reversed four years later by Florida’s current Governor Rick Scott. When Scott was questioned about his Coleman Literature Review 4 actions, this how he...
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