September 24, 2013 by David K. Sutton
Prison-Industrial Complex Watch: 1.5 Million Floridians Banned From Voting
Sometimes racism is overt and sometimes it’s baked into the system in ways people don’t recognize. We know the judicial system in America discriminates against minorities, especially young black males. When states like Florida take away a person’s ability to vote because he or she was incarcerated, it reinforces the this two-tier justice system. If blacks are more likely to be locked up (even when they commit a particular crime at the same rate as whites), the black community faces greater voter disenfranchisement, both during and after incarceration.
But this isn’t just about race, it’s also about a person’s economic status. Because even though there are plenty of wealthy elites committing crimes (or rigging the system so their actions are not considered crimes), its people on the low end of the economic ladder who face the harshest sentences.
Why Have 1.5 Million Floridians Been Banned from Voting? | American Civil Liberties Union — Almost six million people are denied the right to vote because of felon disfranchisement laws that perpetuate racial and economic disparities by excluding citizens from the democratic process even after they have paid their debt to society. —
The result is of the injustice of felony disenfranchisement is that people, especially people of color, are legally barred from participating in our system of government, and denied a say in the issues that impact their communities. Factors that contribute to so many people’s involvement in the criminal justice system in the first place are then rarely addressed.
It’s a vicious feedback loop. Those most likely to be discarded by the system, end up in the system, and then when they leave, they are denied the right to change that very system.