Governor McAuliffe announced last Friday that he is immediately restoring the civil rights of 206,000 convicted felons, including violent felony offenders. Civil rights include the right to vote, serve on a jury, run for public office and serve as a notary public.
I believe that when convicted felons have completed their sentence and paid their debt to society, they deserve the opportunity to demonstrate they once again deserve their civil rights. However, there should be a clear and consistent delineated policy that applies fairly and equitably. That policy should take into account the nature of the crimes committed, whether they have paid back their victims and the court system, and their willingness to serve as productive members of society.
The Governor's policy applies to violent criminals who have committed even the most heinous violent crimes including murder, rape, child rape, and kidnapping. By applying no discretion or judiciousness to this process, the Governor is undermining the strength of the criminal justice system and the sanctity of our civil rights.