This past Saturday per ABC7Chicago, volunteers helped organize the first jail wide in person voting process in Cook County jail’s history. Apparently 94% of the inmate population is eligible to vote, so this will be a valuable tool to help those eligible voters actually get access to voting. As ABC notes, this is part of a wider movement to help give people trapped in the criminal justice system more opportunity to vote and have their voices heard. Jessie Jackson participated in the early voting to try and lead by example and encourage others to do the same. I really like this plan to help give inmates a better chance to have a voice in american politics, and hopefully down the line a bigger say in their own lives. Inmates throughout every prison in America have been one of the highest suffering victims of civil rights abuses, from the officers who arrested them, those who interrogated them, the DA’s who decided they would be going to jail, and the security guards who run their lives. Of course not every inmate is a victim of this, but our criminal justice system is objectively a horror show that incentivizes the worst type of aggressive policing and sentencing. Even though there have been pushes against throwing people in cages for consuming marijuana, many people who are just normal non dangerous human beings wanting to live their lives are still thrown into cages for victimless crimes. To not allow someone a vote, or to restrict their vote because of a conviction is a horrible violation of ones civil rights and just a downright insult to real democracy. These are human beings, and they deserve a say in their lives like all of us do. There’s also a racial component to this that has to mentioned, lest I be irresponsible. African Americans have been arrested and convicted for “crimes” like Marijuana offenses at a rate much higher than white people have, even though I can pretty much guarantee that white people are consuming Marijuana at, near, or above the same rate as any demographic. So barring or restricting inmates from voting is then another way racial discrimination has entrenched itself within America’s institutions. Look at states like Alabama, where as of 2016 the Sentencing project(a non profit D.C based reform organization) calculated that 7.6%(!) of the states population was disenfranchised. That meant that 15%(!!) of the states African American population was disenfranchised. I’ll use the word objectively again in saying that those numbers are truly hideous to behold.