New Report Finds Restoring Voting Rights for People with Felony Conviction Can Improve Public Safety

Prisoners in a recreation yard at Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, California. (Noah Berger via Getty Images)

By Leslie Acevedo

WASHINGTON, DC – “Increasing Public Safety by Restoring Voting Rights,” released by the Sentencing Project last week, has found restoring voting rights for people with felony conviction can improve public safety, and reduce recidivism.

Kristen Budd, a research analyst at the Sentencing Project and lead author of the report, said, “lawmakers should follow the date and dismantle the laws and policies that exclude justice-impacted people from participating in our democracy.”

Budd, who notes the “report featured a number of studies which underscore the beneficial effects of restoring voting rights for all Americans who have been convicted of a felony,” said the report found having the right to vote and the act of voting are related to increased public safety.

Budd added that having the right to vote shapes community re-entry experiences and is linked to intentions to remain crime-free, and excluding people from voting based on their conviction offense does not advance public safety.

The Sentencing Project’s “Increasing Public Safety by Restoring Voting Rights” comes out just as several states are moving to protect and expand the vote for justice-impacted individuals.

Budd said, “in 2023, Minnesota and New Mexico restored the right to vote for over 57,000 justice-impacted persons who are on felony probation or parole,” and “In 2020, Washington, DC became the third jurisdiction in the continental United States where individuals incarcerated for a felony conviction can vote.”

Despite this, felony voting remains a problematic problem in America with “4.6 million people unable to vote due to a felony conviction,” added Budd.

With the prison population rising more than 500 percent since 1973, the number of people excluded from casting their ballot, “disproportionately affects Black Americans – one in 19 voting-eligible Black Americans cannot vote, a rate 3.5 times that of non-Black Americans,” said Budd. 

About The Author

Leslie Acevedo is a senior undergraduate student at California State University, Long Beach, majoring in Criminology/Criminal Justice. She intends to pursue a Master's Degree in Forensic Science or Criminal Justice. She aspires to become a forensic investigator.

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1 Comment

  1. Keith Olsen

     “Increasing Public Safety by Restoring Voting Rights,” released by the Sentencing Project last week, has found restoring voting rights for people with felony conviction can improve public safety, and reduce recidivism.

    Of course it can, we know this because some left wing justice advocacy organization told us so.

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