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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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Public Opinion and Felon Disenfranchisement

Public Opinion and Felon Disenfranchisement

(p.205) 9 Public Opinion and Felon Disenfranchisement
Locked Out

Jeff Manza

Christopher Uggen

Clem Brooks

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines public attitudes toward disenfranchisement. It shows that there is little public support for stripping the right to vote from all people convicted of felonies. Instead, the public appears to view disenfranchisement as a harsh penalty in a democratic society with universal suffrage. The public endorses disenfranchisement for current prisoners, but “draws the line” at the prison gates. Strong public support for other political rights for criminal offenders is also noteworthy, including the right to speak freely even on controversial topics relating to the criminal justice system. This provides evidence for a degree of real depth in democratic sentiments among the American public.

Keywords:   public attitudes, disenfranchised felons, right to vote, political rights, criminal offenders

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