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Reentry Resource Center - New York

Serving People from Arrest to Reintegration

Jim Crow in New York (The Brennan Center for Justice) (2010)

  • Organization: Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law
  • Author: Erika Wood and Liz Budnitz with Garima Malhotra
  • Document Type: Report
  • Date Created: Monday, February 22, 2010
  • Submitted: Monday, February 22, 2010
  • Attachment(s): LINK

This report explores the impact of New York's criminal disenfranchisement provisions, first enacted in the wake of the Civil War. These provisions were part of a concerted effort to exclude African Americans from participating in the political process. As African Americans gained freedom with the gradual end of slavery, New York's voting qualifications - including criminal disenfranchisement laws - became increasingly more restrictive.

Today, New York's criminal disenfranchisement law is nearly identical to the provision enacted 140 years ago. And the law continues to have its originally intended effect: the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans and other ethnic minorities. Nearly 80% of those who have lost their right to vote under New York's law are African-American or Hispanic.

The "Jim Crow in the North" report makes recommendations to remedy this situation by restoring the right to vote and educating New Yorkers about their rights.