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October 19, 2004

Felon disenfranchisement

Roger Clegg rebuts the claim that felon disenfranchisement laws are connected with efforts to keep blacks from voting. He notes that even the Sentencing Project and Human Rights Watch, two pro-felon groups, admit that the practice dates back to ancient Greece and Rome. Clegg's final point is one that few, if any, people mention:

The irony is that the people whose votes will be diluted the most if felons are reenfranchised are the law-abiding citizens in communities with a high proportion of felons in them. These citizens, who are also most frequently the victims of crime, are of course themselves disproportionately poor and minority. But somehow the bien pensants always forget them.
Clegg's point is right on. The Sentencing Project, given a choice between supporting minority felons and supporting the law-abiding minority victims of those felons, will always side with the felons. Here's a statistic of note: The National Crime Victimization Survey reports that about 85% of completed violent crimes against blacks are committed by blacks. So who's going to be hurt by helping the felons? As a general principle, when people claim to speak for blacks (or other minorities) by advocating for felons, they are a fraud at best.