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African American felon disenfranchisement; case studies in modern racism and political exclusion.


African American felon disenfranchisement; case studies in modern racism and political exclusion.

Pinkard, John E.

LFB Scholarly Publishing, LLC


233 pages



Criminal justice; recent scholarship


Thurgood Marshal dissented in the 1964 Supreme Court case of Reynolds v. Sim, saying that the right to vote is essential to a democracy, and any restriction of that right "strikes at the heart of representative government." Pinkard carries it further, stating that disenfranchising felons minimizes human potential and leads to minimization of life chances. He argues that it is unfair, unlawful, and inhumane to disallow felons the vote after they have completed their incarceration, and that variations in state law vis-a-vis felon disenfranchisement are irrational and inconsistent, and contradict the principle of constitutional democracy. He further argues that these facts disproportionately impact felons who are African Americans, and creates a disadvantageous situation for the African American community. Using a field research survey of the felon population currently incarcerated in three eastern states, the author sought to discover felon attitudes toward voting rights. Two results of the survey showed that in those states which permanently disenfranchise African American felons, race discrimination has a significantly greater political impact, and that those politically marginalized felt both willing and qualified to exercise their right to vote. Eight chapters present: introduction and hypothesis; statement of the problem; the right to participate: a matter of law and moral certitude. Three chapters are case studies (New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia). The last two chapters are the conclusion and epilogue. The target audience would come from several perspectives: sociology, anthropology, criminology, police science, and the law, and black studies. There is an appendix, endnotes, and bibliography.

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Publication:Reference & Research Book News
Article Type:Book review
Date:Oct 1, 2013
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