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Jim Crow Is Alive and Well in the 21st Century: Felony Disenfranchisement and the Continuing Struggle to Silence the African-American Voice

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The United States has experienced a well-documented expansion of its use of correctional supervision, which has been fed by the adoption of punitive sentencing legislation at the state and federal level. This growth has come largely at the expense of the African-American community, which has been economically and politically marginalized as a result. Felony disenfranchisement, the loss of voting rights as the result of a felony conviction, exacerbates these inequalities by both silencing the political voice of the individual and diluting the electoral impact of the broader community. This article examines the historical roots and modern-day consequences of American disenfranchisement, analyzes its development into a tool of political segregation, and calls for the abolition of this vestige of Jim Crow exclusionism.
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Keywords: collateral consequences of incarceration; elections; felony disenfranchisement; race and the criminal justice system

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-03-01

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