Forthcoming in Criminal Justice Ethics… “The Limits of Criminal Disenfranchisement.” As usual, a late draft will go up on academia.edu soonish.
This article begins with the assumption that criminal disenfranchisement is at least sometimes theoretically defensible, as a component of punishment. From this assumption, I argue that it is only legitimate in a constrained set of cases. These constraints include: implementing disenfranchisement only for serious crimes; tying disenfranchisement to both the electoral cycle and to the length of imprisonment imposed for an offence; and assessing a background condition of sufficient justice present within the state that wishes to disenfranchise. Once these constraints are considered, I argue that there are very few instances in which disenfranchisement is defensible. To prove this, I examine both current disenfranchisement practices and the commonly present factors that undermine the constraints outlined above.