Paying our debts

All Americans owe a profound personal debt, one that never can be repaid. We are heirs to the courage, vision and sacrifices of the Founders, and obligated to all those who fought to establish, and subsequently protect in war and peace this noble democratic experiment in political liberty. But some Americans owe another very different kind of debt to society, by dint of having committed felonies. Once convicted, they become known as 'felons' for the rest of their lives. Properly speaking, the only 'ex—felons' are those few whose convictions are overturned. In some states, such as Florida, Virginia, Iowa, or Kentucky, felons are denied the right to vote. In other states, like California, convicted felons are denied access to certain forms of public assistance. Everywhere, there is suspicion of those who check the 'yes' box on employment applications, when asked if they have ever been convicted of a crime. But this lifelong status rankles many. Noting that felons able to vote...(Read Full Article)