This introductory chapter sets out the purpose of the book, which is to analyze and interpret felon disenfranchisement laws in the United States. It examines whether and how large-scale disenfranchisement impacts democratic processes; how racial factors might help to explain the origins and impacts of these laws; and the importance of the right to vote in weaving former offenders back into the social fabric. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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