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Columbia Law School

Criminal Procedure

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Disenfranchisement As Punishment: Reflections On The Racial Uses Of Infamia, George P. Fletcher Jan 1999

Disenfranchisement As Punishment: Reflections On The Racial Uses Of Infamia, George P. Fletcher

Faculty Scholarship

The practice of disenfranchising felons, though decreasing, is still widespread. In this Article, Professor George Fletcher reflects on the use of disenfranchisement as punishment, the lack of a convincing theoretical justification for it, and its disproportionate impact on the African.American community. Fletcher presents a number of powerful arguments against the constitutionality of the practice, but he emphasizes that there is a deeper problem with disenfranchisement as punishment: It reinforces the branding of felons as an "untouchable" class and thus helps to prevent their effective reintegration into our society.