Political Attitudes, Voting, and Criminal Behavior

Jeff Manza and Christopher Uggen

in Locked Out

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780195149326
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199943975 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Crime and Public Policy

Political Attitudes, Voting, and Criminal Behavior

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Researchers have turned their attention to prisoner reentry and reintegration as more and more people are released from prison and placed back into their communities each year. This scholarship details the problems that felons face in attempting to restart their lives, as well as the factors influencing whether they commit further crimes. Is voting one such factor? Does losing the right to vote matter to individual offenders, and if so, how and why? This chapter uses survey data to explore felons' political beliefs and the consequences of political exclusion for individual behavior and public safety. It looks at what felons believe, whether they vote, and how voting at one point in time influences the likelihood of subsequent criminal activity. If those who vote are actually less likely to commit new crimes—to “desist” from criminal activity—extending the franchise to felons could reduce rates of recidivism.

Keywords: felon disenfranchisement; voting; political beliefs; political exclusion; public safety; recidivism

Chapter.  6553 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Theory

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