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January 23, 2013 (Salon)

Liberalism’s unfinished agenda

In his column, Michael Lind writes that “Obama can't rest on his laurels. He still needs to fix our broken criminal justice and child care systems.”

Lind writes that there “should be an end to the permanent forfeiture of voting rights.

“People who have served out their punishment should be allowed to return to society as fully functioning citizens, not permanently relegated to a legal and political underclass. And tyrannical majorities should not be allowed to disenfranchise specific populations indirectly, as white majorities have sometimes sought to do, by connecting the forfeiture of voting rights to minor offenses like drug possession committed disproportionately by minorities and the poor.”

He cites a report from The Sentencing Project that notes that one in 13 African-Americans is disenfranchised as a result of a prior conviction; the numbers are even higher in Virginia (20 percent), Kentucky (22 percent) and Florida (23 percent).

Issue Area(s): Sentencing Policy, Incarceration, Racial Disparity, Felony Disenfranchisement, Drug Policy, Women, Collateral Consequences, Juvenile Justice