Locked Out: Felon Disenfranchisement and American Democracy

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Oxford University Press, Mar 30, 2006 - Law - 384 pages
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5.4 million Americans--1 in every 40 voting age adults-- are denied the right to participate in democratic elections because of a past or current felony conviction. In several American states, 1 in 4 black men cannot vote due to a felony conviction. In a country that prides itself on universal suffrage, how did the United States come to deny a voice to such a large percentage of its citizenry? What are the consequences of large-scale disenfranchisement--both for election outcomes, and for public policy more generally? Locked Out exposes one of the most important, yet little known, threats to the health of American democracy today. It reveals the centrality of racial factors in the origins of these laws, and their impact on politics today. Marshalling the first real empirical evidence on the issue to make a case for reform, the authors' path-breaking analysis will inform all future policy and political debates on the laws governing the political rights of criminals.
 

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Contents

Introduction
3
1 Foundations
11
2 The Racial Origins of Felon Disenfranchisement with Angela Behrens
41
3 The Disenfranchised Population
69
4 The Contemporary Disenfranchisement Regime
95
5 Political Attitudes Voting and Criminal Behavior
113
Felons Speak Out with Angela Behrens
137
7 The Impact of Disenfranchisement on Political Participation
165
8 A Threat to Democracy?
181
9 Public Opinion and Felon Disenfranchisement with Clem Brooks
205
10 Unlocking the Vote
221
Appendix
235
Notes
291
Index
353
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Page 4 - No class of men can, without insulting their own nature, be content with any deprivation of their rights. We want it, again, as a means for educating our race. Men are so constituted that they derive their conviction of their own possibilities largely from the estimate formed of them by others. If nothing is expected of a people, that people will find it difficult to contradict that expectation.

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About the author (2006)

Jeff Manza is Professor of Sociology at New York University. Christopher Uggen is Distinguished McKnight Professor of Sociology at the University of Minnesota.

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