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Running head: WHEN DO FELONS DESERVE ALL THEIR RIGHTS RETURNED TO THEM 1

When Do Felons Deserve All Their Rights Returned To Them Author’s Name Institutional Affiliation

When Do Felons Deserve All Their Rights Returned To Them When Do Felons Deserve All Their Rights Returned To Them This paper posits to explore the restoration of non-violent felons’ rights and freedoms with a focus on the United States. Felons in the United States are the sole category of citizens who are disenfranchised from voting, more than two centuries after the nation was founded on principles of egalitarianism. Felon disenfranchisement is currently a controversial and noteworthy public policy concern, in rejoinder to the unparalleled rise of the carceral state and concerns of equality in American democracy (Lijphart, 2011). Topical projections by the Sentencing Project hint that in excess of 5 million people are not entitled to vote on the grounds of a criminal conviction. The domino effect of felon disenfranchisement is predominantly concentrated in several minority communities according to the Sentencing Project (2011). Projections reveal that one in every eight African-American men is not entitled to vote attributable to the American criminal justice system. In the U.S, states have the power to establish ex-felons’ eligibility to vote and there are

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an assortment of diverse laws concerning when an ex-felon may be disenfranchised and how the ex-felon may restore their voting right. Each state with the exception of Vermont and Maine disenfranchises persons imprisoned on felony convictions. Most states demand lengthy disenfranchisement period to probation, as well as, parole (Robert, 2010). A small number of states persist in disenfranchising ex-convicts upon release from the criminal justice system, while some states disenfranchise ex-felons forever. The processes employed in restoring ex-convicts in regard to their right to vote are usually confounding because of these disparities across and within states in the process of restoring felon voting rights. While the right to vote is immediately restored upon release in some states, some states call for a waiting period. Several

When Do Felons Deserve All Their Rights Returned To Them states restore the right to vote automatically upon release, while other states call for an application. The categories of disenfranchising crimes also differ across states (Lijphart, 2011). In the state of Virginia, any individual convicted of a felony is deprived of some civil

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rights perpetually. New residents of Virginia who are yet to restore their civil liberties in the state of their conviction also are deprived of their civil liberties. These civil liberties, however, can be restored by means of an appeal addressed to State Governor of Virginia. Here, there are three special approaches to appeal depending on the ex-felon’s state of affairs: 1. There is a short application applicable for non-violent felonies. 2. Long application applicable for election law, violent, drug and every other offense 3. Appeal to the court in the case of non-violent felonies. In the state of Virginia, a nonviolent offender may apply for reinstatement of their civil liberties via the secretary of the commonwealth’s office. This may be done two years following completion of their jail sentence. The waiting phase is five years in the case of violent offenders. In the event that a person is convicted of a felony offense, they are deprived of their civil liberties, including their voting right, serving on a jury, seeking a public office, and the right to serve as a legal representative, in Virginia (Kathleen, 2009). The felony conviction may be derived come from a plea of guilty to a charge of a felony or trial conviction by a jury or judge. In Virginia, a person is eligible for the restoration of their civil liberties, if convicted of a non-violent nature of offense. In that case, the waiting phase is usually two years devoid of any other misdemeanor or felony convictions from the conclusion of the jail term. In the event that a person was convicted of an election-related, or a violent offense, the waiting phase is usually five years devoid of any other convictions. In addition, a person may not be qualified for restoration of their civil rights in the event that they have pending cases or

When Do Felons Deserve All Their Rights Returned To Them specific criminal convictions. In the event the ex-felon has fulfilled the waiting phase, and have no prohibiting criminal charges or convictions, only then may an ex-felon appeal to the State Governor to reinstate your civil liberties (Meredith, 2010). In the event that an ex-felon has a deferred sentence, the ex-felon ought to be capable of applying for restoration with no impediment. This would be in place of lingering until the

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sentence is in principle complete if the person fulfills all other stipulated conditions. This denotes that in the event that a person has a judgment for a deferred sentence and do not serve a jail, or related incarceration sentence, subsequently the two or five year waiting phase immediately commences assuming that the person has paid all of their fines, or court costs. If an ex-felon has a judgment for a deferred sentence, and has no incarceration sentence, then the two or five year waiting phase does not commence until all financial obligations are paid in full. This also applies if the person has completed their incarceration sentence, but has not paid their outstanding financial obligations such as court fees or fines (Advancement Project, 2011).

When Do Felons Deserve All Their Rights Returned To Them References

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Advancement Project. (2011). Virginia Civil Rights Restoration Guide Fall 2011. Retrieved from http://www.commonwealth.virginia.gov/JudicialSystem/Clemency/restoration.cfm. Kathleen, L. (2009). Proportional Representation & Election Reforms. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. Lijphart, T. (2011). Constitutional Choices for New Democracies. Journal of Democracy, 1, 7383. Meredith, M. (2010). Persistence in Political Participation. Quarterly Journal of Political Science, 3, 187–195. Robert, M. (2010). Felon Disenfranchisement & Voter Turnout. Journal of Legal Studies, 15, 85–93. Sentencing Project. (2011). Felony Disenfranchisement Laws in the United States. Retrieved from http: // www. Sentencingproject. Org/ doc/ publications/ fdlawsinus. Pdf.