Locked Out: Felon Disenfranchisement and American Democracy (Studies in Crime and Public Policy Series) / Edition 1

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Overview

5.4 million Americans—1 in every 40 voting age adults— are denied the right to participate in democratic elections because of a past or current felony conviction. In several American states, 1 in 4 black men cannot vote due to a felony conviction. In a country that prides itself on universal suffrage, how did the United States come to deny a voice to such a large percentage of its citizenry? What are the consequences of large-scale disenfranchisement—both for election outcomes, and for public policy more generally? Locked Out exposes one of the most important, yet little known, threats to the health of American democracy today. It reveals the centrality of racial factors in the origins of these laws, and their impact on politics today. Marshalling the first real empirical evidence on the issue to make a case for reform, the authors' path-breaking analysis will inform all future policy and political debates on the laws governing the political rights of criminals.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Mr. Manza and Mr. Uggen... wade into one of the most contested empirical debates in political science: How many (if any) recent American elections would have gone differently if all former felons had been allowed to vote?"—The Chronicle of Higher Education

"Few issues undermine the legitimacy of democratic systems more than the disenfranchisement of ex-felons from voting. In Locked Out, Manza and Uggen examine the legal, political, and social-historical context of this peculiarly American dilemma. The book is masterful, a must-read for those who seek answers to why and how felon disenfranchisement exists and what can be done to hasten its demise."—Robert J. Sampson, co-author of Shared Beginnings, Divergent Lives

"This is an important book. Energetically researched and clearly written, Locked Out is a major contribution to public debate about the vexed issue of felon disfranchisement. It sheds light into one of the dark corners of American political life, suggesting that the exclusion of millions of felons and ex-felons remains a significant shortcoming of our democracy."—Alex Keyssar, author of Right to Vote

"Locked Out's carefully researched argument for changing our thinking on felon disenfranchisement is also a powerful blueprint for realigning state election laws to match our country's deep democratic faith."—Lani Guinier, co-author of The Miner's Canary

"The United States stands out among all nations in the world for the large numbers of people it incarcerates, and for then stripping them of the right to vote, sometimes for life. In this brilliant and timely book Manza and Uggen probe the roots of this phenomenon in American history, especially our racial history, and they show us how felon disenfranchisement continues to distort American democracy, and to influence electoral outcomes."—Frances Fox Piven, author of Why Americans Still Don't Vote, And Why Politicians Want It That Way

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195149326
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 3/10/2006
  • Series: Studies in Crime and Public Policy Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeff Manza is Professor of Sociology at New York University. Christopher Uggen is Distinguished McKnight Professor of Sociology at the University of Minnesota.

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements
Introduction
1. Foundations
2. The Racial Origins of Felon Disenfranchisement
3. The Disenfranchised Population
4. The Contemporary Disenfranchisement Regime
5. Political Attitudes, Voting, and Criminal Behavior
6. Disenfranchisement and Civic Reintegration
7. The Impact of Disenfranchisement on Political Participation
8. A Threat to Democracy?
9. Public Opinion and Felon Disenfranchisement
10. Unlocking the Vote
Appendices
Notes

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