Our Nation has a Secret: Felony Disenfranchisement in America

Prison Reform Movement's Weblog- America: Land of the Free, Home of the Incarcerated


Jotaka L. Eaddy

Senior Director for Voting Rights and Senior Advisor to the President and CEO, NAACP



Today, nearly 4.4 million people in America have families, own homes and have even started their own businesses. They are pursuing the American Dream with one exception — they cannot vote. Felony conviction laws are blocking them from the ballot box. This barrier to full participation in our country’s democracy underscores why felony disenfranchisement is as much an international issue as incarceration rates and prison reform. On December 10th — Human Rights Day — we must continue to make this injustice visible.

It is no secret that the U.S. is home to more than 2.4 million prisoners, surpassing countries like Russia, Brazil, and South Africa combined.

The data becomes even more jarring when broken down by race. Blacks, who constitute roughly 13 percent of the U.S. population, account for 38…

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