Since they won’t restore it, the Mpls NAACP will take it!

2008_voting_line_in_Brooklyn
April Sikorski / Wikimedia Commons

The Minneapolis NAACP’s Criminal Justice Reform Committee has launched an initiative that will restore the vote for hundreds, maybe even thousands, of Minnesotans. Last month, the committee launched a URL (www.rtv-mn.com) that will allow probationers who are eligible for early termination of probation to receive consultation on petitioning the courts.

The objective is twofold: reduce the number of probationers and restore the vote for as many people as possible before the November election. We anticipate that we will be able to restore voting rights for nearly 100 people by the end of the summer.

Research shows that legislators often enact laws based on their beliefs about the nature of a problem and the responses that will be effective in addressing the problem. These beliefs are not necessarily based on a thorough understanding of available research on the nature of problems in criminal justice (Cole & Smith, 2013). Restoring the vote will improve the lives of people impacted by crime, including victims.

While this initiative is still in its infancy stages, the committee anticipates that it will become a model used in other states that have refused to restore voting rights. Of the 47,000 Minnesotans currently disenfranchised, there are many who don’t know that they can petition the courts or how to petition for early termination of probation. For instance, many individuals serving a 20-year probationary sentence do not know that they can petition after eight years.

As I’ve shared in many venues, in 2006 I was convicted of a drug crime and sentenced to probation until 2026. However, in January of this year, I went through the process of early termination and my probationary term was terminated on March 23rd. The criminal justice reform committee wants to help others break their chains as well. This reform effort will reduce mass probation and allow human beings to have a voice in critical conversations that ultimately determine their fate.

The Minneapolis NAACP made several attempts this session to be heard on this issue and the House refused to respond or provide a hearing. Since they won’t restore it, we will put the pressure on the courts to follow their early termination policies. We are excited to deliver this service to the community!

 

Jason Sole is a criminal justice educator and adjunct faculty member at Metropolitan State University and Hamline University. He welcomes reader responses to jsole01@hamline.edu.

One Comment on “Since they won’t restore it, the Mpls NAACP will take it!”

  1. This is garbage. The restore the vote was dead before it got started. The Mpls NAACP tore their collective asses trying to get $1 million from the state legislature.

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