Prison And The United States Essay

Prison And The United States Essay

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When someone in the United States is found guilty of a crime, they are sentenced to jail time, and they give up all their benefits that they previously had as a free American citizens. They went against the laws and thus should have to pay for their crimes committed. With the current prison population around 1.5 million (J.F., 2014), and climbing, many debates have arose. There is one question in particular that constantly emerges, “Does this mean these 1.5 million people incarcerated in a prison cell should give up their rights as citizens to vote as well?”
While held in prison or jail, inmates should not have the right to vote. The social contract theory states, “a persons ' moral and/or political obligations are dependent upon a contract or agreement among them to form the society in which they live,” ( Friend, 2015). When a crime is committed, it not only puts the victims in harms way, but society as well. Most, if not all crimes committed, were preconceived. This means that the criminals had time to think about the consequences if they committed the specific crime, and yet they still decided to follow through and break societies rules. As Roger Clegg put it, “ If you are not willing to follow the law, you can not claim the right to make the law for every one else,”( Holding, 2006). Many states agree with this claim. Forty-eight states prohibit current inmates from voting, 36 keep parolees from the polls, 31 exclude probationers, and only two (Vermont and Maine) allow inmates to vote (Holding, 2006). It all comes down to trust. Do people trust the inmates to make good choices for voting if they didn’t make a good choice before? Would a presidential election effect those behind bars? Probably not, because no matter who wins the...


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Prisoners ' rights. (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/prisoners_right

State Felon Voting Laws - Felon Voting - ProCon.org. (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://felonvoting.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000286#florida


Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://www.iep.utm.edu/soc-cont/



Holding, R. (2006, November 1). Why Can 't Felons Vote? Retrieved from: http://content.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1553510,00.html


Who, what, where and why. (2014, March 14). Retrieved from: http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2014/03/americas-prison-population

Eric Black. (October, 2014) Why is voter turnout so low in elections. Retrieved from: http://www.minnpost.com/eric-black-ink/2014/10/why-turnout-so-low-us-elections-we-make-it-more-difficult-vote-other-democrac

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