In a sweeping gesture, Virginia’s Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe signed a bill into law reinstating voting rights to felons this week. The legislation will affect 200,000 Virginia residents, giving them the right to participate in the political process and having a hand in their own future.

This is a valuable step in working to fix America’s broken criminal justice system which currently seeks to punish rather than rehabilitate felons. Taking steps like these nationwide will eventually work towards reducing recidivism and helping to rebuild the damage done by an excessively harsh criminal justice system.

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Sydney Robinson is a political writer for the Ring of Fire Network. She has also appeared in political news videos for Ring of Fire. Sydney has a degree in English Literature from the University of West Florida, and has an active interest in politics, social justice, and environmental issues. She would love to hear from you on Twitter @SydneyMkay or via email at srobinson@ringoffireradio.com