There is nothing more important in the world than democratically elected leader. This is because the leader enjoys the mandate of the majority of the citizens in the respective jurisdiction. The right to vote is thus very fundamental to the citizen. In the instance when a citizen is convicted of a felony then this right is taken away, and he/she can longer take part in the subsequent election of leaders.
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In some instances, this withdraw from participation is extended even after the offender is integrated back into normal life. It is like to receive a lifetime gag, and this has raised many issues in the United States over the years. It is however important to evaluate both sides before making conclusion on whether former convicts should be allowed to vote.
Origin of the Felon Disenfranchisement
In the days that followed the elimination of slavery in the United States if America (Pettus pg9). There was great question over the right of the black people to vote. The argument was that slavery had ended, but that did not imply a right to vote had been affected. However, due to the black people’s resilience and push for recognition the law was amended to aloe them to take part in voting in the days subsequent elections. However, the white folk still found a way to abscond this right to vote. The idea was to ensure that the black people lost their ability to cast their votes in the event that they were convicted for whatever reason. This had been effective for a long time until the law was amended. The law henceforth provided for felon disenfranchisement for all and sundry without prejudice of race or gender. The law was changed to also lonely include capital offenses.
Reasons for Felon Disenfranchisement
The reasons as to why most states have continued to hold on to this law have been objective and very well thought. One of the main reasons is the ability to trust a former convict to make the right judgment. It is argued that a person who engages in capital crimes is either mentally challenged or suffers from poor judgment. Most times in litigation involving capital offenders, the jury first recommends for an intensive review of the convicts mental ability to think.
The ability to reason rationally is questioned with respect to capital offender. The conclusion is that in the case of a capital offender it is hard to trust them or the life of the public when it comes to voting. The election of a leader is crucial and cannot be left in ten hands of a robber or a murderer regardless of the fact that they have gone through rehabilitation.
In the united states of America the federal law is supreme over any law and thus even if the push to allow the ex –convicts a right to vote in their particular states, then the right to choose a president would certainly be our rich. It is important to note that almost 2% of the total population in the United States fall into this category of disenfranchised citizens. While in some state only the convicts who are sentenced are not allowed to vote, in most other states it is simply illegal.
The argument that freedom is supposed to be punitive and to ensure that there is full remorse from the offender is a basis for the stripping of voting rights. Prison is supposed to act as a place for rehabilitation and reflection over the crimes committed. It is also supposed to serve a warning to other people of what may happen to them if indeed they should break the law.
It is therefore recommended that a convict should be stripped of the right they may have so as to ensure that they feel the impact of their actions. It is argued that the continued period of waiting even after release from freedom is to evaluate the changes in the ex-con and to confirm that there have been indeed changes in their personal life.
Retribution can be another basis for the striping of the voting right it does not seem appropriate that even after the conviction of a an offender that they may be released and immediately take part in the process that is supposed to do the general society good.
The feeling of revenge due the perception that the law does not deal with the convict as firmly as it would be expected may give the public a reason to act in revenge or in attempt to install remorse in the ex-convict. However, when the convict is released and it seen that he/she cannot enjoy most of the rights and freedom enjoyed by the other people then there is a feeling of ease and confidence in the system.
The aspect of using a person as an example to the others is very critical. The society needs a system that can inflict pain of the offenders in order to put fear and obedience to the laws of the land to the other people. Of a young man sees the consequences that befall another youth due to their miss deeds then there I s very high possibility that this young man will have the need to chance and become a better person o in the society.
Reasons for Against
Indeed an ex-convict once said, “Without my vote I am just a ghost in this wilderness.” The role of punishing offenders has been the role of the governments for a long time. The idea of locking up offenders was inherited from the Greek in the olden days (Lykidis pg 46-48).
Traditionally offenders were excommunicated and left to wonder in solitude the rest of their lives. However, as time passes and the question of where these outcasts actually went began to pop up. It agreed that at the end of it all, these outcasts were being integrated into other societies, and they became better people. This discovery prompted the introduction of jails as an alternative to the previously popular excommunication.
Rehabilitation is supposed to as a healer to an issue that may be reversible. The opponents of the felon disenfranchisement argue that it is wrong to deny a person of their right to vote. They argue that is beats logic to allow ex-con to drive and to sire children yet the only thing they are denied is a voting right. The argument is that you can be able to allow a person give life to another person yet deny them the right to the ballot. The case of poor judgment is highly disregarded because it is not possible to quantify experience.
The period that a convict is I jail should be the only period that he/she is limited in their enjoyment of their rights (Barak pg 61-70). However, after they are free then these people should get immediately absorbed back into the society, and the community should help the people in reconstructing their lives. However, when these people are encounter stigmatization and isolation into only draws them away are most likely to slide back into their former lives. The most appropriate way to rehabilitate an individual into the society is by giving them hence to lead an ordinary life.
During a ruling, the judge reads out the jury’s decisions and a final judgment. It might be argued that this report never mentions the deprivation of the right to vote. If, for instance, the judge convicts the person to 7years in prison, the judge does not support the argument for the inclusion of the inhibition to vote. Therefore, this law is implied and not part of a general ruling a court of law.