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Locked OutFelon Disenfranchisement and American Democracy$
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Jeff Manza and Christopher Uggen

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195149326

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195149326.001.0001

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Political Attitudes, Voting, and Criminal Behavior

Political Attitudes, Voting, and Criminal Behavior

(p.113) 5Political Attitudes, Voting, and Criminal Behavior
Locked Out

Jeff Manza

Christopher Uggen

Oxford University Press

Researchers have turned their attention to prisoner reentry and reintegration as more and more people are released from prison and placed back into their communities each year. This scholarship details the problems that felons face in attempting to restart their lives, as well as the factors influencing whether they commit further crimes. Is voting one such factor? Does losing the right to vote matter to individual offenders, and if so, how and why? This chapter uses survey data to explore felons' political beliefs and the consequences of political exclusion for individual behavior and public safety. It looks at what felons believe, whether they vote, and how voting at one point in time influences the likelihood of subsequent criminal activity. If those who vote are actually less likely to commit new crimes—to “desist” from criminal activity—extending the franchise to felons could reduce rates of recidivism.

Keywords:   felon disenfranchisement, voting, political beliefs, political exclusion, public safety, recidivism

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