The federal government is calling on state governors to make it easier for convicted felons who have served their time to obtain state-issued IDs and vote in elections.
While expungement may be an option for some individuals convicted of crimes, this option isn’t always available to everyone. Moreover, criminal record expungement won’t necessarily make the offender eligible to vote.
The push to help convicted felons get better acclimated to the world outside prison after serving their sentences is part of a larger policy shift by the U.S. Justice Department to emphasize rehabilitation over punishment in the criminal justice system. For example, the Justice Department has called for lawmakers, prosecutors and judges to provide drug offenders and other nonviolent offenders with alternatives to lengthy prison sentences. Instead of cracking down on all kinds of crime, the federal government is looking to get smarter about how the criminal justice system treats defendants and convicted criminals, which is why the new policy is officially called “Smart on Crime.”
Voting Rights for Convicted Felons
US Attorney General Loretta Lynch acknowledged how difficult it can be for a person with a criminal conviction on their record to feel like a vital part of American society because a criminal record often makes it impossible for them to vote. At this time, approximately six million people can’t cast votes due to their criminal backgrounds, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.
At the state level, there has also been a push in several parts of the country to help convicted felons become contributing members of society with the right to vote in U.S. elections. For example, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe recently issued an executive order that makes it possible for hundreds of thousands of convicted felons in Virginia to vote in state elections and ballot initiatives later this year. McAuliffe made the decision because he believes that it is wrong to deny nonviolent offenders the voting rights that are “the essence of our democracy.”
For further information, view the Yahoo.com article, “US to States: Make It Easier for Ex-Prisoners to Obtain IDs.”
If you or a loved one has been arrested for a drug crime, a theft offense or any other crime in New Jersey, the aggressive criminal defense attorneys at Rudnick, Addonizio, Pappa & Casazza PC can help you fight the charges and avoid the most severe penalties. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.