US Judge Orders Halt to Florida Prison “Slave” System

It looks like a US District Judge has finally gotten around to take action against what appears to be a de facto slave enterprise being run by the Florida Penitentiary system.

The ‘Slave Power’ Behind Florida’s Felon Disenfranchisement

Florida’s felon-disfranchisement scheme plainly has wearied U.S. District Judge Mark Walker; on Thursday he announced that the state’s system violates the Constitution and ordered the parties to a lawsuit to propose a remedy by February 12.

It’s a slight misnomer to say that Hand v. Scott struck down the disfranchisement scheme. Walker did not hold that felons, or ex-felons, have an automatic right to vote. That issue, he reasoned, is settled by a 1974 Supreme Court case, Richardson v. Ramirez, that held that “the exclusion of felons from the vote has an affirmative sanction in § 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment.” (That section, never actually applied, purported to reduce congressional representation for states that denied the vote to adult male citizens “except for participation in rebellion, or other crime.”) The Florida case challenged the system—if that is the word—Florida uses to restore voting rights to some, but not all, former felons.

Understand to begin with that among the 50 American states, Florida is the undisputed disfranchisement champion. According to a 2016 report by the Sentencing Project, 48 of the 50 states strip felons of their right to vote while they are serving their sentences; only 34, however, bar released felons from voting while they are on post-prison probation or parole; and a mere 12 strip them of voting rights even after they are completely finished with the correctional system. Among those 12 is—you guessed it—Florida.

Read More at The Atlantic
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Paul Gordon is the publisher and editor of iState.TV. He has published and edited newspapers, poetry magazines and online weekly magazines. He is the director of Social Cognito, an SEO/Web Marketing Company. You can reach Paul at

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