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May 1, 2019 The Signal page 9

Opinions

Prisoners should be denied right to vote

Felons must prove they can abide by law

Many inmates return to prison after their release. By Isabel Vega Opinions Editor Whether or not felons should be granted the right to vote is an ongoing

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debate that become pertinent leading up to the 2020 presidential election. I believe that if someone is not willing to follow the law, then they should not play a role in electing our government

officials. There are required standards of responsibility and honesty that must be met for citizens before they should be allowed to participate in our government. People who have committed serious crimes against their fellow citizens simply do not meet those requirements. I think that ex-prisoners have shown an immense lack of honesty and responsibility by committing a crime. Felons who have committed serious crimes especially have forfeited their right to vote. According to Center for Equal Opportunity, Children, non-citizens and “those adjudicated to be mentally incompetent” are not able to vote because of standards involving trustworthiness and responsibility. The same standard should apply to criminals. Ex-felons must demonstrate that they are willing to follow the law for a set period of time before they can regain their voting rights. Since the restoration

of these rights can return a felon into society, this should be done with extra caution. Incentives for an ex-felon to avoid future problems with the law should be considered. Having a time period set in place is crucial because such a high percentage of criminals who are released fail to improve overtime and ultimately return to prison. According to Vox, 76 percent of inmates end up back in jail within five years. A set period of time needs to be established before a felon regains the write to vote to ensure that they have turned over a new leaf. How long this period should be is dependant on many things — the actual crime committed, whether there have been previous felonies, when the crime was committed and what positive changes the felon has made since being released. Only then should a felon have their right to vote restored.

Young adult literature lacks diverse authors

Varying perspectives increase relatability for readers By Amani Salahudeen Accurate representation in literature is essential for readers. Many organizations are pushing for books with more diversity so that readers can further identify with a wider array of characters. Books are the gateway to a world of imagination, and works that promote diversity can alter the reader’s perception of the characters. Statistics show that diversity in young adult literature is on the rise. According to Diversity in YA, in 2014, mainstream publishers published 47 LGBTQ+ young adult books. That is a 59 percent increase from 2013, when only 29 LGBTQ+ YA books were published by mainstream publishers. Although there has been progress, there is still work to be done. According to The Rumpus, nearly 90 percent of the books reviewed by The New York Times are written by white writers. That is not even remotely reflective of the racial makeup of this country, where 72 percent of the population, according to the 2010 census, is white. “Often children are socialized, educated and raised in communities in which people

are similar — similar in terms of race or class, similar in terms of religion or native language, etc,” said Emily Meixner an associate professor and coordinator of English secondary education program at the College. “Any book that invites students into a new place and introduces them to people, ideas and experiences unfamiliar to them complicates what they know.” According to Meixner, books like “The Hate U Give,” “Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens,” “A Very Large Expanse of Sea” and “Five Feet Apart” feature representation of people of color, LGBTQ+ characters, characters with different religions backgrounds and characters with illnesses, which helps establish their roles in mainstream society. When books have diversified representation, audiences becomes more socially aware and accepting. “In each of these cases, readers encounter privilege and oppression and the effects of personal and structural violence on children and teens,” she said. “That’s powerful, which is why these books can provide solace as well as serve as a call to action.” Although some might argue

Accurate representation in literature promotes inclusivity. that there is enough representation of minorities in the media, research and the public’s demand for more diversity in books say otherwise. The fact that there has

been an increase in diversity for YA literature from 2012 and 2014 is a step in the right direction, but the lack of diverse books in YA literature remains a cause

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for concern. Readers of all different backgrounds should be able to find works that feature characters to whom they can relate.

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The Signal: Spring '19 No. 13  

The 5/1/19 issue of The Signal, The College of New Jersey's student newspaper

The Signal: Spring '19 No. 13  

The 5/1/19 issue of The Signal, The College of New Jersey's student newspaper

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