Access denied: The construction of criminality and the consequences of felon disenfranchisement
More than 4.6 million Americans are currently barred from the voting franchise as the result of a felony conviction. While some of those individuals are in jail, on probation, or on parole, more than 1.6 million have served their sentences in full but live in one of the thirteen states that permanently disenfranchises some or all felons. I seek to understand why some states disenfranchise felons, and how those felons cope with this exclusion. I explore some of the forces that act upon our national knowledge about crime, criminals, and punishment and shape crime policies. One of the primary forces is the role of the elite in the construction of this knowledge. I also interviewed thirteen women at a prison facility in Baltimore to better understand some of the impacts that Maryland's disenfranchisement laws have on inmates. Lastly, I explore the implications that this exclusion has on our democracy.