Citizenship, democracy, and the civic reintegration of criminal offenders

Christopher Uggen, Jeff Manza, Melissa Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

221 Scopus citations


Convicted felons face both legal and informal barriers to becoming productive citizens at work, responsible citizens in family life, and active citizens in their communities. As criminal punishment has increased in the United States, collateral sanctions such as voting restrictions have taken on new meaning. The authors place such restrictions in comparative context and consider their effects on civil liberties, democratic institutions, and civic life more generally. Based on demographic life tables, the authors estimate that approximately 4 million former prisoners and 11.7 million former felons live and work among us every day. The authors describe historical changes in these groups; their effects on social institutions; and the extent to which they constitute a caste, class, or status group within American society. The authors conclude by discussing how reintegrative criminal justice practices might strengthen democracy while preserving, and perhaps enhancing, public safety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-310
Number of pages30
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2006


  • Crime
  • Democracy
  • Punishment
  • Reintegration
  • Voting


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