How states reduce jury diversity by excluding people with a record
Last month, the Prison Policy Initiative released a report called Rigging the Jury, showing how all 50 states reduce jury diversity by excluding some people because of their criminal record, in some cases permanently.
The report, which includes a map, table, and detailed appendix explaining each state’s policies, shows that:
- 44 states bar people with felony convictions from jury service when they are no longer incarcerated. (By comparison, 30 states bar voting by those who are not incarcerated.)
- 6 states go even further, barring people with some misdemeanor convictions from juries.
- 7 states bar legally innocent people from juries if they are called to serve while charges are pending against them.
The report also explains how excluding people with records makes juries less diverse (e.g., one in three Black men have felony convictions), why jury diversity is essential to the fairness of a trial, and what must be done to fix this unfair system.
The full report is here.
Note: Our Restoration of Rights Project also provides state-by-state and 50-state information on loss and restoration of rights to serve on a jury due to a record. We updated and, in a few cases, corrected our data based on the PPI study – and thank its authors!
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