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Nation of Perpetual Punishment

  • Broadcast in Politics Progressive
massmarrier

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Paid your debt to society? Think again and keep paying.

Our literary and cinematic clichés include felons reinventing themselves after prison. Our society actively discourages reintegration. We are more like Valjean/Javert or Hester Prynne. You will wear your mistake and pay for it so long as you live.

Most obvious are CORI-style criminal-records files that give employers an excuse to hire someone other than an ex-convict. That keeps the former felon struggling and poor.  

Even among rich celebrities, there can be pushback. Lately Mak Wahlberg has asked for a pardon from an old conviction for a racist assault (one of several in his teens and early 20s). Seems as a convicted felon, he has problems getting liquor licenses for his burger restaurants. Consider the harm and hopelessness if you aren't a wealthy, famous music and movie star.

At a base level though, why do the feds encourage states to bar former felons from the number one civic duty of voting? Only two New England states let incarcerated criminals vote absentee. Quite a few permanently ban participation in elections.

There is some logic to preventing ex-convicts from getting gun permits...but only if they had committed vioent offenses. But honestly, why separate the paid-their-debt crowd from the rights of citizenship?

 

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