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Today nearly 4 Million American Citizens are denied the right to vote due mainly to there status as ex-offenders. A starkly disproportionate number of minorities, particularly African Americans males, are thus denied voting rights. Nearly 14 percent of African American males are denied the right to vote.
We believe ex-offenders should have the right to vote restored upon release from prison. Studies show that that one of the best indicators of whether an individual will vote is whether their parents vote and children of ex-offenders should not be put at an even greater disadvantage.
On December 31, 2003
2,085,620 prisoners were held in Federal or State prisons or in local jails
There were an estimated 482 prison inmates per 100,000 US residents
The number of women under the jurisdiction of State or Federal prison authorities increased 3.6\% from 2002, reaching 101,179 and the number of men rose 2.0\% totaling 1,368,866
At yearend 2003 there were 3,405 black male prisoners per 100,000 black males in the United States in prison, compared to 1,231 Hispanic male inmates per 100,000 Hispanic males and 465 white males per 100,000 white males.
We do not contest the necessity for incarcerating those that violate the laws and statues of the United States nor do we contest the need for protecting the public from those that would harm and or make unsafe the society we live in today.
We do however ask that consideration be given to the following concerns of all who signed within this petition.
Ex-Offenders are just that EX-OFFENDERS their rights to vote must be reestablished upon payment of the prescribed debt to society.
Ex-Offenders have done their time and those that have shown a desire through action and example must be given a clean slate their criminal record should become automatically sealed after a prescribed time of being a Good Citizen
Ex-Offenders must be permitted to re-enter society without the stigmata of being an EX-OFFENDER this would be done by providing Ex-OFFENDERS achievable and realistic goals that would allow them to see that they can do their time and then re-enter society.
EX-OFFENDERS are people also and many of the persons in prison today want only to rejoin their family and become an active and productive member of society. This is hindered by a lifelong chain around their neck for all to see. It is assured that if First Time Offenders and even those who have more excessive non-violent criminal histories were assured of having a Light At The End Of The Tunnel then the desire to end a criminal cycle would be all that much stronger.