Feb 15, 2010

Inmates, parolees, and political representation

Recent activism and scholarship regarding the upcoming census and the disenfranchisement of inmates and parolees, calls to our attention critical issues that organizations concerned with reentry may overlook in the face of more immediate concerns like housing and employment.

However, in his letter to the editor in the February 5, 2010 issue of the Albany Times Union Glenn Martin, Vice President of Development and Public Affairs at the Fortune Society, lays out why the inmate census rule, which allow upstate prison communities to count nonvoting inmates as residents in order to increase legislative representation, "comes at the expense of destitute urban communities whose problems already stem from a disproportionate lack of resources and advocacy." To read more about the inmate census rule, click here.

Additionally, on February 12, 2010, the New York Times blog highlighted the recently released publication issued by the Brennan Institute of Justice which exposes the roots of inmate disenfranchisement as a "concerted effort to exclude African Americans from participation in the political process." To read the Brennan Institute's full publication, " Jim Crow in New York," and their recommendations for restoring voting rights to individuals on parole, click here.

You can get involved in these issues by contacting the Brennan Institute of Justice and the National Urban League.