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Voting Rights for Ex-Felons?

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theburningliberal
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Response to Voting Rights for Ex-Felons? 2012-05-19 11:18:22 Reply

At 5/19/12 12:50 AM, Camarohusky wrote:
At 5/18/12 09:58 PM, theburningliberal wrote: I guess it depends partly on your state. A felony conviction where I am from automatically means at least a sentence of 366 days.
I think most states have probation possibilities for some felonies. Felony convictions can also be lower than 1 year. What makes a felony a felony is the possibility of getting over a year. For the vast majority of felonies probation is out of the question and prison of over a year is pretty much guaranteed. Possession, DV, and low level accessory crimes tend to be where you get the probation and misdemeanor sentences. While the scope of these is small, they make up a very large percentage of all felony convictions.

I would argue the parole/probation process creates a stronger barrier towards reacclimating to civilian life than losing the right to vote. If our goal were to make that process easy, we would eliminate the parole system rather than stripping them of their voting rights. No, clearly our society already values the fact that the time an inmate has immediately after parole be closely guarded and restricted. That's why a single arrest for an inmate on parole - even on a small, otherwise insignificant charge - can trigger a parole violation charge and you end up back in the slammer. The larger and more immediate focus has to be protecting society from past offenders (Megan's Law, anyone?) by all fair means. If an inmate progresses to the point where he is paroled and re-admitted into society, and then causes harm to that society again during his parole period, do you really think that person should be allowed to help make political and economic decisions for the rest of us in the interim between Event A and Event B? I would venture to guess that most of us would be somewhat against that idea, because society does not want the re-acclimation process to be easier, they want it to be a challenge so that those who are truly 'rehabilitated' (or are just too good to get caught) will be able to fully rejoin society, and those that clearly haven't learned their lesson can be sent back to spend more time studying.
You've got several points in here.

First, probation and parole actually help a great deal. Working in the Child Welfare part of the DA's office I got to see a lot of folks after they had been on probation or parole. While they walk on a knife's edge in probation/parole, they are constantly supervised. Frankly, with many of these people, their probation officer is the only good influence they have ever had in their life. Quite often it is the mere fact that a person is on probation or parole that they ever rehabilitate at all.

I am not saying that parole and probation don't help to rehabilitate offenders. They are good programs that allow people who a) havent committed truly serious crimes to help themselves by straightening out before they get locked up or b) allow ex-inmates to re-adjust to civilian life. The moral value of these programs is not at issue here.

Second, you kind of have a paradox for your reoffense and voting relation. Reminds me of the witch test where they would throw someone in the water and if they floated they were a witch, if they drowned they were innocent. You are saying that felons cannot vote until they prove they won't commit another crime, but they cannot prove a negative. So you'll either have the felon commit another crime and justify his lack of voting, or have that felon die crime free to justify that they should have voted.

Trial by fire would be an accurate comparison if parole/probation sentences didn't have an expiration date. And no, I am not saying that felons cannot vote until they prove that they aren't a recidivist statistic, I am saying that those rights should be withheld until statistics say that they are more likely to become a law-abiding citizen than they are to repeat the offense that lost them their right to vote to begin with. Fact is, most ex-inmates who are going to re-offend do so within a certain length of time of their release. Until that time has passed without incident, I don't want to risk letting the next Ted Bundy help decide on who will be setting the moral policy for this nation.

Dorkcraft
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Response to Voting Rights for Ex-Felons? 2012-05-20 02:23:41 Reply

At 5/14/12 03:06 AM, digiman2024 wrote:

most will say i am nuts for this opinion, i think we need to expand the death penalty to include rapist and drug dealers, bet you would see a drop in those types of crime real quick.

the states have these rules for a reason, and its not because they just want to be pricks.

There is absolutely no reason to have to kill someone for committing a crime.


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theburningliberal
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Response to Voting Rights for Ex-Felons? 2012-05-20 23:07:51 Reply

At 5/20/12 02:23 AM, Dorkcraft wrote:
At 5/14/12 03:06 AM, digiman2024 wrote:

most will say i am nuts for this opinion, i think we need to expand the death penalty to include rapist and drug dealers, bet you would see a drop in those types of crime real quick.

the states have these rules for a reason, and its not because they just want to be pricks.
There is absolutely no reason to have to kill someone for committing a crime.

Agreed. Even in cases of murder, there is no justification for the death penalty except for retribution and vengeance. No case can be made for deterrence - a recent report by the National Research Center stated that the deterrence argument is 'fundamentally flawed' and 'should not be used in making policy decisions.'

Moreover, public opinion does seem to be turning against the death penalty, as the number of death row sentences has dropped dramatically every year since 1999. A 2010 poll found that a stunning 61% of the participants would choose a punishment other than the death penalty. More importantly, a 2009 poll of US Police Chiefs found that the death penalty was last among preferred methods to reduce violent crime. Interestingly, many also viewed the death penalty as the least efficient use of taxpayer money (maybe that has something to do with the fact that so much more money is spent on capital cases - see Texas, who spends three times more to execute someone who could be imprisoned at the highest security level for 40 years).

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