“Why Prisoners Deserve the Right to Vote”

Corey Brettschneider for Politico magazine.

o some, the idea may seem risky, unnecessary or even unconscionable. But in fact, there are good reasons to embrace it. For one, our constitutional ideals support the right of prisoners to vote, and denying it violates the concept of self-government that the founders cherished. Granting this right also makes sense for the country in terms of politics and policy. As prisons have grappled with the explosion in their populations in the past 20 years, allegations of prisoner maltreatment multiply, and criminal justice reform moves to the fore of our political debate, we should consider that one of the best ways to solve these intractable and expensive problems would be to listen to those currently incarcerated—and to allow them to represent themselves in our national political conversation.

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