The history and impact of felony disenfranchisement

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The University of Minnesota Law Review recently published an article on the history and impact of felony disenfranchisement in Minnesota by Mark Haase, a private attorney who represents the Council on Crime and Justice, a member of Restore the Vote MN.

Here is a summary:

Minnesota has retained essentially the same disenfranchisement law adopted upon gaining statehood in 1857. However, since that time, Minnesota’s criminal justice system has undergone massive changes, especially in its expansion in scope—resulting in one of the highest rates of correctional control in the country, and therefore one of the highest rates of felony disenfranchisement in the country and by far in the region. A cost-benefit analysis reveals that there are no tangible benefits to Minnesota’s current disenfranchisement policy, that its costs are high, and that there are tangible benefits to reform. The policy provides no public safety benefit, may even reduce public safety, perpetuates racial disparities, confuses elections, and unnecessarily expends government resources. These negative policy impacts weighed against little to no benefit, combined with changes in criminal justice politics and recent national events, may provide a ripe time for reforming this outdated policy.

Read the complete law review article.

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