Felon Disenfranchisement and the Argument from Democratic Self-Determination
2016 (English)In: Philosophia (Ramat Gan), ISSN 0048-3893, E-ISSN 1574-9274, Vol. 44, no 3, 759-774 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This paper discusses an argument in defense of felon disenfranchisement originally proposed by Andrew Altman, which states that as a matter of democratic self-determination, members of a legitimate democratic community have a collective right to decide whether to disenfranchise felons. Although this argument-which is here referred to as the argument from democratic self-determination-is held to justify policies that are significantly broader in scope than many critics of existing disenfranchisement practices would allow for, it has received little attention from philosophers and political theorists. One exception is Claudio Lpez-Guerra, who recently raised several objections to the argument. In this paper, I argue that the argument from democratic self-determination can avoid Lpez-Guerra's objections. In responding to these, I explicate how and when it can be permissible for a legitimate democratic community to disenfranchise felons. I propose that this is the case only if the disenfranchisement of felons is not intended as a punishment, but as a way to express the view about citizenship one endorses as a democratic collective. I also discuss the implications of the argument in terms of offender reintegration.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Netherlands, 2016. Vol. 44, no 3, 759-774 p.
Felon disenfranchisement, Democratic self-determination, Offender reintegration, Civil disqualification
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-194478DOI: 10.1007/s11406-016-9722-yISI: 000384552500009ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84969776529OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-194478DiVA: diva2:1040975
QC 201610312016-10-312016-10-282017-01-09Bibliographically approved