Our Voices, Our Votes: Felony Disenfranchisement and Re-entry in Mississippi
New report launch calls for action against Mississippi's criminal legal system
Our Voices, Our Votes: Felony Disenfranchisement and Re-entry in Mississippi, a new report by One Voice Mississippi, Mississippi Votes, and Advancement Project National Office analyzes how Mississippi silences those with prior felony convictions and creates reentry barriers for returning citizens. Using statistics, national data, and personal stories from directly impacted Mississippians, the report shines a light on what people with felony convictions are up against. The report details how the state’s Jim Crow legacy not only fails to assist returning citizens, but permanently disenfranchise them. With this report, organizers hope to bring change to the Mississippi criminal legal system and restore voting rights for all incarcerated citizens who have served their prison term.
Here are the facts:
- In 2018, Mississippi had the 3rd highest incarceration rate in the country, including prisons, jails, immigration detention, and juvenile justice facilities.
- 235,152 people are disenfranchised (cannot vote due to a felony conviction) in Mississippi, nearly 11% of the state’s population.
- 62% of people incarcerated, on parole, or probation in Mississippi are Black, while Black people make up less than 40% of the state’s population.
Mississippi must do better to support people returning home from prison, particularly by restoring and ensuring the right to vote. Alongside Mississippi Votes and One Voice, Advancement Project National Office is advocating for the following state policy proposals, rooted in the lived experience of incarceration and its life-long impacts:
- Restore voting rights to everyone who has completed their prison term
- Establish a clear process and inclusive criteria for approving suffrage applications
- Limit the harms of the criminal justice system to better support reentry from prison
- Modernize our voter registration and election administration to reduce barriers to voting