Public Opinion and Felon Disenfranchisement

Jeff Manza, Christopher Uggen, Clem Brooks

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines public attitudes toward disenfranchisement. It shows that there is little public support for stripping the right to vote from all people convicted of felonies. Instead, the public appears to view disenfranchisement as a harsh penalty in a democratic society with universal suffrage. The public endorses disenfranchisement for current prisoners, but "draws the line" at the prison gates. Strong public support for other political rights for criminal offenders is also noteworthy, including the right to speak freely even on controversial topics relating to the criminal justice system. This provides evidence for a degree of real depth in democratic sentiments among the American public.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLocked Out
Subtitle of host publicationFelon Disenfranchisement and American Democracy
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199943975
ISBN (Print)9780195149326
StatePublished - May 24 2012


  • Criminal offenders
  • Disenfranchised felons
  • Political rights
  • Public attitudes
  • Right to vote


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