Wow, what a week for my TSP co-publisher and partner in public engagement Chris Uggen!
It started on Tuesday at the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Barrett. There, Senator Durbin called out Barrett’s contrasting positions on gun rights relative to (racialized) felon disenfranchisement. The senator raised Uggen’s classic AJS article (with Angela Behrens & Jeff Manza) as well as his Sentencing Project report with former TSP board members Ryan Larson and Sarah Shannon (48 seconds into this clip).
Then, on Wednesday Professor Uggen and his research team—including University of Minnesota sociology major and McNair scholar Arleth Pulido-Nava—released a new national Sentencing Project report. I won’t attempt to document its contents here. However, if you listen to CBS national radio or read the New York Times, you may know a bit about it already. And here’s Uggen’s own initial gloss:
As a researcher I’ve tracked the flurry of legal changes to restore the vote in recent years, so I was disappointed to find that 5.2 million citizens remain disenfranchised — three quarters of whom live and work alongside us in our communities. Disenfranchisement amplifies the effects of racial disparities in law enforcement and the courts, diluting the political voices of communities of color. Re-enfranchising these citizens would reduce such disparities, extend democracy, respond to public sentiment, accord with international standards, enhance public safety, and put to rest the prospect and practice of bringing ‘unlawful voting’ charges against citizens in a democracy. We cannot take these extreme voting restrictions for granted or accept them as part of the ‘furniture in the room.’
Finally, and just in case you didn’t realize how big of a deal my TSP partner is: a group called “Academic Influence” released a top-ten list of influential criminologists that had Uggen ranked at #3!
As his longtime collaborator and current department chair, I questioned why Uggen wasn’t in the gold or silver spots, and considered asking our staff if we should look into their impact metrics and, perhaps, ask for a recount. But Chris, in his typical Minnesota fashion demurred, saying that the only thing he knows for sure is that he’s “overrated.” I know we’re not supposed to brag, Chris, but I doubt that. Keep up the great work—you are a leader and inspiration to us all.