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Should felons be allowed to vote? Show more Show less

States within the U.S. differ significantly on policies relating to the disenfranchisement of felons. While on the one hand felons should be punished for disrespect of the law, they are also citizens with the right to be represented like anyone else. So, should felons never be able to vote again? Should they be granted the right to vote once they have completed their sentence? Or should they never lose the right to vote, even whilst serving their sentence?

Felons should be allowed to vote once they have served their sentence Show more Show less

Once a sentence has been served, felons should not have to be continually punished. All of their rights should be reinstated.
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Felons have paid their debt to society

By serving their sentence, felons have repaid their debt to society. Disenfranchisement means they are continually punished.

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Context

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The Argument

The purpose of imprisonment is to be used as a punishment for crimes. Once a felon leaves prison, they have repaid their debt to society. For the state to then restrict their basic rights by restricting their right to vote is to take away the capability for them to reintegrate into to society; instead, they are made to feel like they are less than other citizens.

Counter arguments

The situation is not so straightforward that we can say that once a felon leaves prison, they are finished with their punishment. The State has numerous mechanisms to mediate felons' returns into wider society, such as probation. All of their rights and freedoms are not automatically reafforded to them, and voting should be no different.

Framing

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Premises

[P1] The state dictated a punishment for a crime felons committed, and they completed this punishment. [P2] They should not continue to be punished for this.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] Just because they have served a sentence does not mean felons have proved they deserve to vote.

Proponents

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Further Reading

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This page was last edited on Friday, 24 Jan 2020 at 11:29 UTC