This paper examines the damaging effects of felony disenfranchisement on American democracy. The premise of American democracy is to include citizens in government processes, thus, felony disenfranchisement is inherently anti-democratic. The first section analyzes the historical timeline of the origins and prominence of felony disenfranchisement dating back to Ancient Greece. The paper considers the legal standing of felony disenfranchisement by examining relevant court cases, such as Richardson v. Ramirez (1974). Following this, a case study of the states that practice distinct levels of felony disenfranchisement, ranging from the most punitive states to the most permissive, is presented. The paper then addresses the modern challenges regarding the legality of felony disenfranchisement and the shifts in American philosophy regarding corrections through a case study of Florida. This paper concludes with an examination of the constitutionality of the practice at its core. It suggests potential solutions for American policymakers to consider as the American political consciousness continues to shift from punitive correctional policy to less punitive.
"With Liberty and Justice for Some: How Felony Disenfranchisement Undermines American Democracy,"
Themis: Research Journal of Justice Studies and Forensic Science: Vol. 8
, Article 6.