Part II of the series “Trump, Prison Reform, and the White House Briefing with Black Clergy”, looks at a problematic area of public policy. Namely, the indefinite rescinding of voting rights of persons convicted of felonies. The series comes in the wake of a recent controversial White House meeting between Donald Trump and Christian clergy. From all indications, Trump has not addressed a number of key issues, despite the pastors’ praising his work in policy reforms. The reader is encouraged to read Part I of the series, along with future articles.An October 2016 report by The Sentencing Project [TSP] estimates that 6.1 million Americans are prohibited from voting as a result of law that rescind such rights from persons convicted of felony-level crimes. So called “felony disenfranchisement” laws have disproportionately negative impact on African Americans. A segment that represents roughly 13% of the American population. But one that accounts for ___ of the ex-felon population.
Founded in 1986, The Sentencing Project pursues its mission to work “for a fair and effective U.S. criminal justice system”. TSP promotes reforms in sentencing policy, addressing unjust racial disparities and practices, and advocating for alternatives to incarceration. Among its broad works, the organization publishes groundbreaking research, aggressive media campaigns, and strategic advocacy for policy reform. Beyond the period of a felon’s paying his/her debt to society in the form of incarceration, ex-offenders not only lose voting rights, but also women and children lose access to public access (e.g., food stamps, cash assistance). The latter contribute to the cycle of economic challenges that often lead to crime and specifically, recidivism.
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Black on Black Compassion (BBC) will launch later this year as an authorized affiliate of The LowdCrowd Network. The BBC mission focuses on content and initiatives that promote a strong African American community and improved relations among people of African descent across the globe. We absolutely invite you to join BBC and get involved with the ambitious work ahead. BBC is primarily focused on African Americans to take ownership of the mission. People of all races and ethnic groups interested in this mission, including matters of justice, are likewise welcomed to join BBC.