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Mya Cherbini

When an ex-con walks out of prison, the person usually feels like a new person. They
think it will be right back to their old life. Running around, playing with kids, or going back to
work. But contrary to popular belief, that is usually not the case. Ordinarily, the person would
have to get a new job and find a new place to live. Yet, the rights given to a felon do not make it
easy to do that. Nowadays, criminals are not aloud to vote, and having a record makes it harder
to find a job and harder to find a house. Though others believe prisoners should not have rights at
all, ex-felons should have specific rights such as the right to vote, the right to a homing system,
and the ability to apply to a job without complications.
To begin, prisoners should be able to vote when they are done serving their sentence.
They should be able to vote because it allows them to learn from their mistakes and be given a
chance to have a responsibility. According to "Too Many Ex-Convicts Aren't Able to Vote," from
Star Tribune of Minneapolis-St. Paul, We let ex-convicts marry, reproduce, buy beer, own
property and drive. They don't lose their freedom of religion, their right against selfincrimination or their right not to have soldiers quartered in their homes in time of war. But in
many places, the assumption is that they can't be trusted to help choose our leaders... If we
thought criminals could never be reformed, we wouldn't let them out of prison in the first place."
If ordinary people cant trust a felon to do a simple task such as voting, they shouldnt be out of
prison yet. Meanwhile in prison, they are being trusted with responsibilities such as cooking and
cleaning right after they committed a crime. Yet, people who oppose believe prisoners should not
be given the right to vote because they already have very bad judgements and being given the
opportunity of choosing the nation's leaders is too much responsibility. According to Another
No On Felons (an editorial from The Washington Post), Even in nearby Massachusetts, no
stranger to progressivism, voters in 2000 supported a constitutional amendment to bar inmates
from voting. The reason is clear: Most people think perpetrators of serious crimes have violated
the public trust and cannot be permitted to help determine the future of the communities they
harmed. [For the time being, the voters' good sense about the possible scenarios - the advent of
new constituencies of prisoners whom politicians court for votes, for instance - still prevails. As
does the sense that most of the time, in most of the country, serious lawbreakers should not help
elect the country's lawmakers. People who oppose, explain that there is a big responsibility
lying in a prisoner's hand which should not be allowed when it comes to irresponsible and
unreliable convicts. Although this may be a big responsibility, it might be able to improve their
thought process by allowing them to make an important decision like this. It can also improve
their decision making when given a responsibility like voting. According to an article from a the
EBSCOHost database, Giving prisoners the vote would aid their rehabilitation, which is
essential if they are to avoid re-offending after being released. Denying prisoners the vote
implies that they are sub-human: this damages their dignity and sense of self-worth, undermining
efforts to help them control their behaviour. Voting encourages prisoners to take an interest in
current events, which will aid their rehab into society. Overall, allowing prisoners to vote gives

them a chance to be responsible and it helps them get back into swing with things outside of
prison.
Additionally, prisoners should be provided with homes when they are released from
prison. They should be provided with homes because it keeps them off the streets which could
prevent them from starting up with crime again. According to a statement from Faith Lutze,
Without a safe and stable place to live where they can focus on improving themselves and
securing their future, all of their energy is focused on the immediate need to survive the streets
Being homeless makes it hard to move forward or to find the social support from others
necessary to be successful. Like the woman states, keeping the prisoners of the streets helps the
stay out of trouble and out of gangs. Yet, the opposing side states that prisoners shouldnt be
provided with homes because if prisoners live in the community others wont because it
jeopardizes their safety. According to www.wtsp.com, Where they want to put this transitional
housing facility is a pretty rural area. There are several retired couples, a home with small
children and, next to the property, is a man that makes and sells high-powered rifles I'm afraid
they're going to come over here. I mean, I keep all my stuff locked up, but that doesn't mean they
are not going to get parts that I don't keep locked the safe. The way these people in this area
react shows that it is not easy and unsafe for ex-cons to live in ordinary neighborhoods. This may
be true yet, this could help prisoners get on their feet when they get out and it can also prevent
stress when dealing with finding a home. According to The New York Times, Research shows
that housing and family support, especially during the critical first months after prisoners are
released, increase their chances of success in re-entering society and not returning to crime. But
they face hurdles when trying to rent apartments, advocacy groups say, and for many the
preferred or only option is to return to their former homes or to live with family members. Like
this recent study shows, providing housing for ex-cons renews their ability to interact with the
real world in a time of crisis.
Finally, prisoners shouldnt have to show managers a card saying they have been to
prison and why they did when applying for a job. They shouldnt have to do this because it
violates their rights and makes it harder for ex-felons to provide for themselves. According to an
article from the Washington Post, 'Right then and there, it was like the air went out of my tires,'
she says. It was the 'have you ever been convicted of a crime?' box on a job application for a job
at Burlington Coat Factory in a suburb of San Francisco. After six months in prison on an arson
charge, the correct answer for Walker was 'yes' but saying so could essentially disqualify her
for the job. Automatically Im having to make a moral decision Walker says. 'Am I gonna lie?
Or tell the truth?' Walker came clean. She got an interview but at the end, she says, the
interviewer shook her hand and placed her application in a box on the floor, never to be seen
again. Having to tell or show an employer that someone has been to jail makes it even harder to
get a job. They think that having a record makes it unsafe for the customers. On the other hand,
the opposing side believes prisoners should have to show the card because it does in fact give the
criminal a better shot at getting the job. They believe that not telling the employer implies that

the criminal is untrustworthy. According to a database article titles What To Do About Criminal
Records, if you do not tell the truth about your criminal record when you are asked, and
your employer finds out about it at a later date, you may be fired or be seen as unreliable. Not
telling an employer about the conviction shows that they have secrets to hide which might
prevent them from doing their job correctly. Despite the possibility of this, ex-cons should not
have to tell an employer they are criminals because not only does it violate their rights but it also
decreases their chance of getting the job. According to an EBSCOHost database article, Ms.
Pager, the Harvard sociologist, has found in her research that having a criminal record by itself is
often a significant impediment she found men who reported criminal convictions were about
50 percent less likely to receive a callback or a job offer. This states that many studies can prove
that overall, having to explain a criminal record to an employer decreases the ability to get the
job and it violates rights.
In conclusion, prisoners should have the right to vote, the right to a housing area, and the
ability to get a job without fear of their criminal record getting the best of them. Yet, the
opposing side believe that ex-cons are too irresponsible and do not have the ability to provide a
safe environment for others.