eric holder

Attorney General Eric Holder called on a group of states Tuesday to restore voting rights to ex-felons, part of a push to fix what he sees as flaws in the criminal justice system that have a disparate impact on racial minorities.

“By perpetuating the stigma and isolation imposed on formerly incarcerated individuals, these laws increase the likelihood they will commit future crimes,” Holder said during a speech at a criminal justice reform event hosted by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights at Georgetown University Law Center on Tuesday. “They undermine the reentry process and defy the principles of accountability and rehabilitation that guide our criminal justice policies. And however well-intentioned current advocates of felony disenfranchisement may be, the reality is that these measures are, at best, profoundly outdated.”

From the Washington Post:

Holder said that current laws forbidding felons from voting make it harder for them to reintegrate into society. He pointed to a recent study, which showed that felons in Florida who were granted the right to vote again had a lower recidivism rate. …

Holder does not have the authority to force states to change their laws, but his request could influence the debate to restore voting rights. His appeal is part of a broader effort currently underway by the Justice Department to reform the criminal justice system, which U.S. officials say often treats minority groups unfairly.

11 states currently restrict voting rights after a person has been released from prison and is no longer on probation and parole. These laws affect about 5.8 million Americans. It’s estimated that 2.2 million are black citizens—or nearly one in 13 African-American adults.

“It is unwise, it is unjust, and it is not in keeping with our democratic values,” Holder said. “These laws deserve to be not only reconsidered, but repealed.”
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  • Allison

    Go ahead and criticize me all you want but I don’t see why a rapist, murderer and child molester needs to be given any rights. Should have thought about how important voting was to you BEFORFE you took someone’s life.

  • Red Foreman

    So lets review:

    We give them the vote back.
    They can do drugs legally now.

    Lets give them their guns back also. That way they can defend their family and themselves. If you don’t you violate their right to self defense.

  • Me

    I hope this goes through. I can’t believe everyone’s comments. You don’t know the specifics of each criminal defendant. And more importantly, we can’t say that all humanbeings are perfect. I am not vouching for murderers or rapist, but if you have commited a crime and you’ve done your time in prison, how long must you be punished? Giving these people their right to vote, which includes young people of color who have served time for non violent crimes, does not mean the world will come to an end and they now have the right to commit more crimes. Make these people whole again by giving them back their basic right to vote.