“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are crated equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, according to Thomas Jefferson (1776) The Declaration of Independence. The founding father’s creation of self-government is for citizens to be allowed to exercise their rights to vote and to use their voice in steering the country in the right direction. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should not be taken lightly but the powers that be in the political arena and the criminal justice system often determine the life of a person after he or she has been convicted of a crime. Everyone has a voice whether its frowned upon or not and that should not be taken away because of the path they chose. Choice does have consequences and that should be taken into consideration but it is unconstitutional to deny someone the rights given to them being a natural born and naturalized citizen. If all men are created equal why are voting rights being taken away from convicted felons? What is being done to help those wrongfully convicted of crimes to be welcomed back into society? Is it lawful to strip felons of their rights given to them at birth and how can states welcome back felons without making them feel like foreigners in their own land? Though it is wrong to hold persons crimes against them it is only fair to consider those fearful of these people entering back society as if nothing happened.
Taking away ones right to vote is taking away their voice and if you take away their voice what do they have left? The have nothing left because everywhere they turn they will be met with rejection and a reminder of their sins. [Voting Rights for Ex-offenders by State] In Florida the voting rights is dependent of on the type of conviction, where as in Kentucky those convicted are barred permanently form voting. While most states allow convicted felons to vote it comes with its stipulations, some are dependent on release from prison and going through the necessities for rights to be restored. In Maine persons right to vote is never taken away which is constitutional and right and eases the pressures off of those who are reading to put their pass behind them and move on.
According to (Representative Cephas, Representative Roebuck, Cruz May, 2018), legislation has been placed to expunge those wrongfully convicted. When a felony is committed whether minor or major it is permanently placed on persons records and follows them where ever they go. There are people who were wrongfully accused and convicted of crimes they did not commit and thus it become hard for them to blend back into society. So, what is being done to protect those that are trying to get their lives back together after a conviction. Why should they be placed in the same category as those who actually committed the crime, the justice system needs further review with this issue. New York state assembly passes landmark legislation to seal past marijuana possession convictions (February 2017. It is hard enough being charged much more having records of discrepancies at the hands of an employer, enough for them to discriminate and decided if they want you to be a part of their organization. Some lawmakers are working hard to make sure this is dealt with for future convictions. Organizations like the ‘Innocence Project’ which I’m a proud member of is working with families of those still convicted and on death row to see that their sentences are over turned and that they are allowed back into society though it would not be the same. While some law makers are making strides in states like Pennsylvania other states like Wisconsin are looking the other way when it comes to overturning conviction and thus pushing people back to the life style they once knew.
Whether it is lawful or not to strip convicted felons of their rights as citizens, it is an uphill battle that causes those affected to try and cope. Their quality of life is taken away and thus reduced to a life with more crimes because societies fights them at every turn. They are frowned upon, placed in environments that would not help them to grow and make them a statistic. People who have spent a lengthy time in prison should be placed in programs that can help them blend back into society. Without the help most of them would end up back in the justice system, awaiting sentencing, on death row and even dead. It is a sad reality but it is one that must be faced with ways to help rehabilitate the persons involved.
People have every right to fear when felons are welcomed back into society, they are prone though not always to return to a life of crime. It is frowned upon and it is easy for the lives of those living peaceably and following the law to be living two feet away from criminals, no one wants that. A life style of crime is easy to revert back to by societies standards and that of the person living in a neighborhood or community having to welcome back a felon. They have every right to fight this and even call on lawmakers to change it. They prefer if they are in a community created for people like themselves because they can be with people of like mind.
Overall convicted felons should not have their rights taken away. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are given when a person is a citizen and it should stay that way. The federal government is not allowed to intervene but states have the right to determine what they want to do with these people. They are people and their freedoms should not be like a game of chess, they have freedoms and rights to use as it was given to them whether through naturalization or a natural born citizen. It is unfair to place them in a category and reject them based on their past. Discriminating against convicted felons and taking away their right to vote as it is done is Maine is unlawful and sends them a clear message telling them they are not allowed to be a part of society though they are part of it. Treatments of such send them back into the lifestyle they chose to walk away from. If they cannot find a job what are they to do, the only thing they know how. It is lawful to rehabilitate these people so they can be welcomed back into society and they should be placed in a program that can give them a sponsor, therapist, counselor as needed. They need to know how to cope and be normal again in society again and leave the life of crime behind. A felony is permanently placed on a person’s record and can only be expunged if the law makers enact a law as they see fit dependent upon the crime.
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