Thank you. We cannot be ignorant of prisoner needs. We also cannot ignore, as you point out, the racism in restricting voting via felony charges.
Hate to be repetitive here, but we need to acknowledge the systematic attack on voting rights. Since Nixon was so instrumental in the War on Drugs, we need to ask why? Voting rights, and that is it.
As John Ehrlichman stated in detail, the War on Drugs was racially inspired (long before Nixon) and meant to restrict voting.
“You want to know what this was really all about? The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
Although he does not mention voting, the motivation is clear. “disrupt those communities” is the understatement of the century.
As Dan Baum relates:
Nixon’s invention of the war on drugs as a political tool was cynical, but every president since — Democrat and Republican alike — has found it equally useful for one reason or another. Meanwhile, the growing cost of the drug war is now impossible to ignore: billions of dollars wasted, bloodshed in Latin America and on the streets of our own cities, and millions of lives destroyed by draconian punishment that doesn’t end at the prison gate; one of every eight black men has been disenfranchised because of a felony conviction."
This shows the voting rights of felons, by state.