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The American Promise Unkept: Felony Disenfranchisement, Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentencing, and The Denial of African American Political Parity

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Title: The American Promise Unkept: Felony Disenfranchisement, Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentencing, and The Denial of African American Political Parity
Author: Moss, Heather M.
Advisor: Waldman, Sidney
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of Political Science
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 2002
Abstract: While the right to vote is one of the most fundamental rights of citizenship in the United States, having both substantive and symbolic value, this fundamental liberty is routinely denied to those incarcerated or who have formerly been convicted of a felony. Currently there are an estimated 4 million U.S. citizens, approximately 2 percent of the adult population, who are not permitted to vote because of a felony conviction. Of this population, 73 percent are not currently in prison, but are on probation, parole, or have completed their sentence. As such, nearly 2.9 million free citizens, living in communities nationwide, are denied access to the franchise for a past criminal transgression. While the adoption of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 promised "every citizen that he shall share in the dignity of man," this promise remains unkept as a highly disproportionate percentage of African Americans remain barred from exercising the fullness of the franchise. As 1.4 million African-American men, 13 percent of the black male population, thus remain barred from voting because of a felony conviction, substantive action must be taken to correct the challenge that felony disenfranchisement makes to the U.S. government as both a federal republic and as a true democracy. This corrective action begins with altering disenfranchisement statutes at the state level and well as amending policy, such as mandatory minimum sentencing, in conjunction with disenfranchisement statutes exacerbates the racial divide. As felony disenfranchisement raises further questions of proportionality and justice, it is time for the U.S., as the only democracy in which a convicted offender can be prohibited from voting for life, ensure that this promise of democracy is ultimately kept.
Subject: Political rights, Loss of -- United States
Subject: Criminals -- Suffrage -- United States
Subject: Mandatory sentences -- United States
Subject: African Americans -- Politics and government
Subject: African Americans -- Suffrage
Terms of Use: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/
Permanent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10066/7684

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Citation

Moss, Heather M.. "The American Promise Unkept: Felony Disenfranchisement, Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentencing, and The Denial of African American Political Parity". 2002. Available electronically from http://hdl.handle.net/10066/7684.

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http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/ Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/

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