Associate Dean and Professor David Mitchell was interviewed for a story on KOMU-TV, “Jeffrey Mizanskey can vote again after completing parole on marijuana charges.” The news story was about a convicted felon from Sedalia who had served more than 21 years in prison and nearly three years on parole. At the end of August he was released from parole and, according to Missouri law, is now eligible to register to vote.
Professor Mitchell said there is a societal benefit that comes with the restoration of rights to people who complete their sentences.
“If we tell individuals who have served their time that they are not full-fledged citizens, that we had this certain rule which continues to exclude them, then how likely are these individuals to rehabilitate, how likely are they to follow rules going forward.”
Professor Mitchell and other scholars disagree with the removal of felons’ voting rights.
“An individual who’s committed a crime never gives up their citizenship and the right to vote is a fundamental right of citizenship,” he said. “They are still governed by our laws, whether they’ve committed a crime or not. Fundamentally, they need to be able to have a voice in the government.”