Collateral Consequences News
June 18, 2013 (New Books in Public Policy)
Mauer on how the U.S. became the world’s leader in incarceration
Marc Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project, discussed Race to Incarcerate: A Graphic Retelling, done in collaboration with artist Sabrina Jones, with Shawn Hamilton of New Books in Public Policy.com. The book has become the essential text for understanding the exponential growth of the U.S. prison system. Michelle Alexander, author of the bestselling The New Jim Crow, calls it "utterly indispensable." Listen here.
June 17, 2013 (BBC)
Why the US locks up more people for life
When an English court handed down a lifetime sentence last week to Dale Cregan for murdering four people, including two policewomen, making him one of about 50 people in the UK serving such a sentence.
Life sentences that truly mean a lifetime in prison are rare in the United Kingdom but common in the US. In the US, Cregan wouldn’t be a rarity.
At least 40,000 people in the US are imprisoned without hope for parole, including 2,500 under the age of 18. And that is just a fraction of those who have been given a life sentence but yet may one day win release. The Sentencing Project estimated in a 2009 report that at least 140,000 people incarcerated in the US now serve a life sentence.
June 17, 2013 (Athens Banner-Herald)
Disenfranchisement hits minorities hardest
Correspondent Jessica Johnson writes that Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell took a “momentous step in his valiant effort to restore the right to vote for nonviolent felons in his state.
“Though McDonnell’s proposals have bipartisan support, they have been harshly contested by some members of his own party. When he attempted to amend Virginia’s constitution so voting rights would be restored immediately to nonviolent offenders who completed their sentences, it was rejected by Republicans in the House of Delegates.
“Virginia, along with the other southern states of Florida, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee, has more than 7 percent of its adult population disenfranchised due to felony convictions, according to a report from The Sentencing Project.
”McDonnell’s move (which has been praised by the NAACP and African-American leaders) could restore voting rights to more than 100,000 Virginians, many of them African Americans.
June 4, 2013 (The Sentencing Project)
Virginia: Disenfranchisement Reform Advances
June 3, 2013 (The Washington Post)
Disenfranchised: A stain on Virginia’s democracy!
Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell took office admirably determined to change a scandalously antiquated system by which the state has deprived several hundred thousand felons of their voting rights — permanently. To his credit, he’s done a better job than any of his predecessors at restoring the vote for former offenders who have served their sentences.
But measured against the problem, the governor’s efforts have amounted to little. Given that more than half of the state’s prison population is African American, the result is a stain on the state’s democracy.
The essential problem is a provision in the state’s constitution, reaffirmed by racist lawmakers more than a century ago, that deprives felons of the vote unless their rights are individually restored by the governor. Only Florida, Iowa and Kentucky are as punitive.