Fairness and Felons: A Push to Enfranchise Prisoners

Depending on where one sits, Joseph "Jazz" Hayden is the Spiderman of a new civil rights movement or a danger to the underpinnings of the judicial system.

He's an ex-con. He served 10 years on a manslaughter rap that he insists was self-defense. While in prison he came to a realization: Convicts that are "stripped of their freedom and at the mercy of their keepers" are probably the least powerful people in this country. So he put together a jailhouse think tank to find a way to change the balance. Its conclusion: Get prisoners to vote. The problem is, only two states - Maine and Vermont - now allow it.

So Mr. Hayden's turned his freedom into a crusade. He's at the forefront of a movement to restore voting rights to felons and ex-felons. And it's had some success. Since 1996, eight states have made it easier for ex-cons and probationers to vote.

The Christian Science Monitor has more on this controversial movement here.