We need a democracy that guarantees a more equitable and just society.
The mass criminalization and incarceration of black and brown communities disenfranchises and disempowers millions of Americans and undermines the promise of a democracy that works for everyone.
In prison, on probation, and on parole, nealy 6.7 million people live under court-ordered supervision. And millions more convicted of felonies experience long-term or even permanent effects of their encounters with the criminal justice system through prohibitions on voting.
Despite the broad reach of our criminal justice system, many Americans view the justice system through a distorted lens. Popular understanding of the system follows narratives created by movies and television shows. The reality often is starkly different. The truth is that the practice of state and local governments counting incarcerated persons as residents of the prison instead of in their home districts (Prison gerrymandering), along with the political spending of wealthy private interests (Corrections Industry Influence) and laws that depress voter registration and turnout (Felony Disenfranchisement), magnifies the political power of rural and mostly white communities at the expensive of more populated metropolitan areas.
Together, we can tackle issues like felony disenfranchisement, prison gerrymandering and corrections industry influence that fuel mass incarceration and undermine democracy.
Joining fight to end mass incarceration represents an effort to build on Common Cause’s longstanding commitment to serve as a watchdog on government, defend and strengthen voting and civil rights and the ability for everyone to participate in our democracy, and ensure that the power of ideas rather than that of monied interests counts most in our country. Everyone should have an equal shot at a democracy that works for everyone. Dig deeper by reading our report, Democracy Behind Bars.