In order to understand the reasons for people to reinforce the concept of former felons’ disenfranchisement, one must consider the approach that is used in the contemporary penal system (Homan, 2016b). A closer look at the latter will reveal that the modern justice system is focused on punishing criminals rather than rehabilitating them. While punishment is a very basic part of attaining justice, it is not the only one. Apart from making a felon pay the debt to the society for the crimes committed, one must also provide the criminal with an opportunity for redemption as suggested by the transformational leadership theory (Harrington, & Williams, 2004).
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Unfortunately, the existing legal system can hardly be viewed as a tool for rehabilitating criminals. With a close focus on the penal aspect of the process, it not only fails to provide felons with a chance of redemption but also reinforces the idea that they are incapable of doing so (Homan, 2016a). In other words, the current justice system prevents criminals from redeeming themselves socially by blocking their way to feeling actual remorse and contributing to the society in the way that would male other people believe in the concept of rehabilitation (Hegtvedt, & Johnson, 2009).
The current stance on social justice can be viewed from the perspective of the transformational leadership theory. Particularly, the fact that the existing justice system fails to motivate criminals to reform and, therefore, does not create any premises for moral and social redemption deserves to be brought up (Bass, 1999). The specified feature of the current justice system is inadmissible from the perspective of the transformational leadership theory (Kuhnert, & Lewis, 1987), which presupposes that people should be motivated to change their patterns of social behavior consciously (Avolio, Walumbwa, & Weber, 2009).
One must admit that the specified approach may have certain dents in its design. Specifically, the means of identifying whether a criminal has been rehabilitated and is ready to reenter society are likely to be rather vague. Although one may display the willingness to reform and integrate back into society, the specified intention may as well be a fake and an attempt to escape the due punishment. Therefore, an elaborate procedure for testing the subjects has to be designed so that safety could be provided to the members of the community.
In addition, the tools for rehabilitating criminals need to be designed carefully so that they could be used to approach each person individually. Seeing that transformative leadership views motivation as the basis for the further development of the required behavioral patterns in the target audience, it is essential that the transgression from the criminal behavior to the socially acceptable one should occur based on the criminal’s willingness to reform (Homan, 2016a).
From the perspective of the transformational leadership theory (Vinzant, & Vinzant, 1996), the concept of disenfranchisement needs to be reconsidered. Seeing that the transformational theory permits the concept of rehabilitation, the disenfranchisement of felons does not seem right in the contemporary world, where the equal rights principle is supposed to define the lives of the members of the society. Therefore, while the principle of disenfranchisement seems reasonable at present, changes have to be made to the current legal system so that the criminals that have been rehabilitated could have a chance at retrieving their basic human rights.
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