Felony Disenfranchisement News
June 11, 2014 (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
The link between felon disenfranchisement, politics, and health
About 7.7% of voting age African Americans are currently prohibited from voting compared to 2.5% of the U.S. population. Pennsylvania is among the more progressive states in this regard; only current prisoners are prevented from casting ballots, with 2.5% of the state’s African Americans (0.6% of all races) disenfranchised, according to the Sentencing Project. When the analysis is limited to males, who are far more likely to be imprisoned, it finds that 13% of African American men are disenfranchised nationwide. An African American male born today has a 1-in-3 chance of being disenfranchised at some point in his life.
If a group of people can’t vote, the politicians who care about their health needs might be less likely to win elections.
May 19, 2014
The Sentencing Project Releases its 2013 Annual Report
The Sentencing Project is pleased to announce the release of its 2013 Annual report which provides a comprehensive overview of activities over the past year.
May 8, 2014 (The Sentencing Project)
Kentucky: Reform Bill Dies as Lawmakers Fail to Reach a Compromise
Minnesota: Support for Disenfranchisement Reform One-Sided
Iowa: Supreme Court Questions Policy
Virginia: Governor Streamlines Restoration Process
New Jersey: Bill Proposed to Permit Voting in Prison for Veterans
National: Rand Paul: Felony Disenfranchisement Reform, Not Voter ID Laws
April 17, 2014 (Huffington Post)
Christian Leaders Call For Ending Drug War, Mass Incarceration
As the Easter holiday approaches, several Christian leaders called for the U.S. to end the war on drugs and mass incarceration of offenders. The faith leaders said they hoped the story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ inspires the resurrection of people and communities devastated by what they said was failed U.S. drug policy.
"The policies of this failed war on drugs -- which in a reality, is a war on people who happen to be poor, primarily black and brown -- is a stain on the image of this society," said the Rev. John E. Jackson, senior pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ in Gary, Ind., and leader of the social justice organization Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, on a conference call Wednesday organized by the Drug Policy Alliance. "Instead of trying to help individuals heal and become whole and have the help they need, people are being stigmatized for profit in the privatized prison system in this country.
The United States incarcerates more of its population than any country in the world. That's largely because of harsh sentences for certain drug-related crimes. There are roughly 25,000 drug-related convictions in federal courts each year and, according to The Associated Press, 45 percent of those are for lower-level offenses. State and local courts handle the vast majority of drug crimes.
April 17, 2014 (SparkAction.org)
A Look at the Latest Data on Race and Juvenile Justice
Josh Rovner, state advocacy associate for The Sentencing Program, wrote in a blog about “the remarkable drop in juvenile arrest rates since the mid-1990s has done little to mitigate the gap between how frequently black and white teenagers encounter the juvenile justice system. These racial disparities threaten the credibility of a justice system that purports to treat everyone equitably.
“Across the country, juvenile justice systems are marked by disparate racial outcomes at every stage of the process, starting with more frequent arrests for youth of color and ending with more frequent secure placement.
“The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) of 1974 requires that data be collected at multiple points of contact: arrest, referral to court, diversion, secure detention, petition (i.e., charges filed), delinquent findings (i.e., guilt), probation, confinement in secure correctional facilities, and/or transfer to criminal/adult jurisdiction.
“Jurisdictions are also required to report the race of juveniles handled at each of these stages. As a result of this requirement—known as the Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) protection of the JJDPA—states have collected racial data on young people’s encounters with the justice system.
“National data is now available from the Department of Justice, and the W. Haywood Burns Institute has organized the publicly available state-by-state data and county-by-county data.”