Can Convicted Felons Be Re-integrated into the Political System? (A Study)


In the discussion of voter disenfranchisement, minorities, the disabled and young, urban youth are often the centerpieces.

But what about convicted felons? Is there a way to get them back into the political process? Get them back into the voting booth?

That’s the subject of a new paper, “Can Incarcerated Felons Be (Re)integrated into the Political System? Results from a Field Experiment.”

Here is an excerpt:

Few studies have examined the direct effects of incarceration on patterns of political engagement. Answering this question is particularly relevant for the 93 percent of formerly incarcerated individuals who are eligible to vote.

Drawing on new administrative data from Connecticut, we present evidence from a field experiment showing that a simple informational outreach campaign to released felons can recover a large proportion of the reduction in participation observed following incarceration.

The treatment effect estimates imply that efforts to reintegrate released felons into the political process can substantially reduce the participatory consequences of incarceration.

The paper, published Dec. 18 by multiple authors, and can be accessed here.

Editor’s Note: To read about Pennsylvania’s efforts to allow convicted felons to vote, click here.

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