Carolyn Medeiros of Rhode Island’s Alliance for Safe Communities, a crime victims’ advocacy group, is outraged that 3,001 felons on probation or parole were allowed to vote in the state in 2008 and probably a larger number voted this month, says the Providence Journal.
OpenDoors, a nonprofit that provides job training and other services to help released inmates, says it was only in 2006 that the state constitution was amended to make it easier for felons to vote. Voters approved the change, 51.5 percent to 48.5 percent. The probation issue is particularly relevant in Rhode Island because the state uses probation much more than imprisonment. A 2007 Pew Center on the States study found that Rhode Island's imprisonment rate, 1 out of 187 residents, ranked 46th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Rhode Island's probation rate of 1 of 31 residents was in the top five nationally.