New Jersey Leads Nation in Racial Disparity of Incarceration Rates
To the Editor:
In 1776 women and blacks could vote in New Jersey if they were worth 50 pounds. It was only our second constitution of 1844 that restricted suffrage to white males. In the same clause it denied voting rights to persons convicted of a crime.
These facts come from a white paper of the NJ Institute for Social Justice, which seeks to extricate voting from criminal justice.
It dismays me that New Jersey leads the nation in racial disparity of incarceration rates and the result that 5.28 percent of the black voting age population is denied the vote, more than twice the percentage of New York and Pennsylvania. Do we want our communities to be shaped by elected officials unaccountable to those in their districts on parole or probation? Extending the right to vote can facilitate re-entry. I invite readers to learn more about this issue and to support reforms.