California will drop its challenge to a court ruling allowing thousands of newly released felons to vote, an official said on Tuesday, the latest example of the success of a criminal justice reform movement that is gaining steam among Democrats as well as some Republicans.
The announcement by Alex Padilla, California's secretary of state, effectively extends voting rights to 60,000 to 73,000 former prisoners who had been released to the supervision of local probation departments under a program to reduce crowding in the state's massive prison system.
"If we are serious about slowing the revolving door at our jails and prisons, and serious about reducing recidivism, we need to engage - not shun - former offenders," Padilla, a Democrat, said in remarks posted on his official website. "Voting is a key part of that engagement."
Padilla's move is part of a broader effort in the most populous U.S. state to reduce penalties for non-violent crimes and make it easier for former prisoners to integrate back into society. Last year, voters passed a referendum that reclassified numerous drug-related and other non-violent crimes as misdemeanors.
Read the whole story at Reuters