A stopped clock is right twice a day. It appears that US Attorney General Eric Holder has finally managed to get one of those times publicized.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Tuesday urged states to repeal laws that prohibit felons from voting, a move that would restore the right to vote to millions of people.
YES. But how can I, as a “law and order, lock ‘em up and throw away the key” sort of person justify my apparent lack of consistency? Easily. Once people get out of prison they should be restored to full citizenship. I’m really sick and tired of this partial citizenship garbage that everyone seems to believe in.
We can talk about how it should happen. Perhaps a short waiting period after release from prison. Perhaps immediately upon the ending of parole. But in any case, once the State is no longer supervising these people they should have full citizenship. There should be nothing that the State or Federal government prevents them from doing once they’ve “paid their debt to society.”
In the US, there are three rights that felons lose. The right to vote, the right to serve on felony juries, and permanent loss of the right to keep and bear arms. All of these rights should be restored.
Here’s my proposition. At the end of the term of imprisonment, including any “post release supervision,” felons should be automatically restored to their full citizenship immediately. I think that Eric Holder and I can agree that this is more than fair. But if Holder thinks that this is just too lenient, perhaps we can compromise. If the only punishment was probation, rights should be restored automatically. If there was a prison term, then they should be restore in one half the length of the time of the prison sentence but not less than 1 year and not more than 7 years.
For example, if Joe the Pine Straw Thief gets 6 months of probation for his conviction, immediately upon termination of his parole he should be handed a certificate signed by a judge restoring his right to vote, his right to serve on a felony jury, and his right to keep and bear arms. If Joe the guy who committed Manslaughter gets 12 years, on the 6th anniversary of the completion of any post release supervision (if any) he should get the same certificate.
Those who want to prevent felons from having guns should agree with me that we should not let them out of jail in the first place. If the State thinks they are safe enough to walk the street, then I think they are safe enough to vote and carry a gun.