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View Diary: Millions Of Disenfranchised, Disproportionately Black (233 comments)

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  •  Who in America cares about convicted crminals? (0+ / 0-)

    This is the disconnect that I don't get from those on the left. We have people without healthcare, jobs, and so forth who live within the boundary of the law. Yet some of you seem more concerned with convicted criminals. This is one area of liberalism that I just don't understand.

    •  We hold these thruths to be self evident: (6+ / 0-)

      We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator  with certain unalienable Rights,[71]  that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

      For alongside our famous individualism, there's another ingredient in the American saga, a belief that we are all connected as one people.

      If there's a child on the south side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me, even if it's not my child.

      If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for their prescription and having to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it's not my grandparent.

      If there's an Arab-American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties.

      It is that fundamental belief -- it is that fundamental belief -- I am my brother's keeper, I am my sisters' keeper -- that makes this country work.

      Any more questions?

      -7.75 -4.67

      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

      There are no Christians in foxholes.

      by Odysseus on Wed Apr 21, 2010 at 08:10:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Again this is the type of issue that costs (0+ / 0-)

        Democrats elections. Why do so many of you care about convicted criminals?

        •  maybe some of us (6+ / 0-)

          care more about justice, equal rights, and principles of the law than we do electoral results and politicking.  Crazy, but true.

          And, not all people in prison actually committed the crimes for which they've been convicted.

          •  You all seem to care about criminals more than (0+ / 0-)

            their victims. Why is there never a post on the victims of crimes? Why should I care so much about a violent felon getting voting rights?

            •  that's a bit of a leap, don't you think? (5+ / 0-)

              Who here said we "care more about criminals than their victims"?  That's a pre-conceived judgment on your part on which you're not basing with any evidence.

              Furthermore, the issue is not about a "violent felon" getting voting rights.  It's about ex-convicts keeping their voting rights.  Once they leave prison, they're no longer violent felons, not the in the eyes of the law -- and public opinion and prejudice against ex-convicts doesn't make them violent felons once they've served their time.  If someone you knew was convicted of a crime -- but you felt strongly about it, and knew they were convicted falsely -- wouldn't you be a little concerned about their constitutional rights too?  I'd certainly hope so.

              Besides, there are often plenty of diaries here on the victims of crimes.  See this one.  And [ this one (about a crime in the Middle East).  And let's not forget all the diaries that sprouted up when George Tiller was murdered.

            •  All citizens deserve the right to vote. (4+ / 0-)

              For felons who have been released from prison, there is the additional justice argument.  They have served their term.  They have been punished as the law prescribed and the judge sentenced.  That fact means something.  It means more than just that they are no longer incarcerated.  It means that they should have the right to participate in society again.

              There is no basis for withholding voting rights from people who are free from prison.  Period.  The idea that there is a legal stigma beyond incarceration offends me.  And yes, I am also against sex offender registries.  Either this person is safe to return to society, in which case they get rights like voting, or they are not, in which case they SHOULD NOT BE RELEASED FROM PRISON.

              What do you believe that justice means?

              -7.75 -4.67

              "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

              There are no Christians in foxholes.

              by Odysseus on Wed Apr 21, 2010 at 09:27:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Odysseus already said it pretty well, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, Livvy5

      but as I wrote upthread:

      Society places an unfair cloud of prejudice over ex-convicts.  People talk about the U.S. being a country of second chances, but in reality, too many people consider ex-convicts as unworthy of ever receiving a second chance at all.

      People who break the law should be prosecuted and convicted of their crimes.  If their crimes are serious enough that prison time is warranted, so be it.  But, once they serve their time and get out of prison, they become citizens of society again, and as such should be afforded all the rights that all other citizens enjoy.

      Besides, many prisoners are victims of false allegations and convictions.  I'd be concerned about that.  I think others should be concerned about that too.

      •  But most Americans don't see it like that (0+ / 0-)


        •  what's your point? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mochajava13, JesseCW

          Most Americans in 2003 thought it was a great idea to invade Iraq.  Didn't make it a good idea.

          •  I see that we have good, hard working Americans (0+ / 0-)

            out of jobs and suffering; yet some of you seem to care more about criminals. Why has there never been a diary here about the victims of crimes and how violent criminals have affected their lives? Why do so many of you see most criminals to be victims of society as opposed to the violent sociopaths that most of them are?

            •  you're stereotyping. In a BIG way. (3+ / 0-)

              No one said that we believe "most criminals" to be victims of society.  You're also claiming that "most criminals" are "violent sociopaths."  Perhaps you didn't know that quite a lot of people in prison are locked up for non-violent offenses.  

              It sure sounds like you're placing a huge amount of authoritarian faith in the prison industry, though.  The sense I get from your comments is: Once a criminal, always a criminal.  Never mind that people might be falsely imprisoned, and never mind that people have the right to re-enter society after serving their time.  Let's also not forget that minorities are disproportionately targeted for arrest and imprisonment -- or are you going to argue that minorities are, by their nature of being locked up disproportionately compared to white people, more prone to violence and crime?

              •  I had my wallet stole and was mugged at gun point (0+ / 0-)

                I just have very little sympathy for violent criminals. When it comes to drug criminals, as long as they are nonviolent and don't reoffend, I have no problem with diversionary and treatment programs.

                •  well, I am sorry that you were mugged (0+ / 0-)

                  no one should have to go through that.

                  However, I would caution you that you shouldn't let that experience color your entire view of people who are in prison.  Some are convicted on false charges.

                  There's also a difference between violent criminals before they've been convicted and sentenced for a crime, and ex-convicts who have served their time.  I think it's clear from your comments here that you don't seem to think so.  Is Michael Vick still an animal abuser now that he has served his time for that crime?  You might feel he is -- but the law doesn't think so.

                •  Getting mugged sucks. (0+ / 0-)

                  You're far from the only person in this discussion who has been the target of a violent crime, though.

                  Justice Brennan Was A Recess Appointment

                  by JesseCW on Thu Apr 22, 2010 at 01:24:50 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Most in prison (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              aren't violent offenders.  Nor are they sociopaths.  A minority of the prison and felony population are violent or sociopaths.  

              Just so you know, our sentencing guidelines are seriously skewed.  For example, committing a simple assault is a misdemeanor, not an assault.  It's a felony to have some drugs.  

            •  Am I the only one who remembers what (0+ / 0-)

              "Good, harworking americans" meant during the primary?

              Or the time the speaker slipped, and said what she meant?

              Justice Brennan Was A Recess Appointment

              by JesseCW on Thu Apr 22, 2010 at 01:11:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  And most Americans (0+ / 0-)

          don't understand the sentencing in the criminal justice system, or what gets treated as a misdemeanor and what gets treated as a felony.

    •  Who says that we don't care about all (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      of the above?

      We have some seriously screwed up sentencing structures in our nation.  Raping a spouse gets a person a few years at most, if they are ever tried. Same with beating up a spouse.  Sell some crack in order to make a living when you can't get or find a job, possibly get over a decade.  We're trying to legalize marijuana, because guess who the primary users are?

      We don't lock up primarily violent offenders; a lot of violent offenders never get tried let alone convicted.  A good chunk of our criminal laws are "victimless" crimes.  While I may not think that all drug dealing should be legal, I don't think all drug dealers should be charged with felonies instead of misdemeanors.

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