This chapter in New Advances in the Study of Civic Voluntarism: Resources, Engagement, and Recruitment examines and extends Verba, Schlozman, and Brady’s Civic Voluntarism Model (CVM) in order to help think through this important link between the criminal justice system and political participation. The CVM relies on differences in individual resources, attitudes, and motivations to explain participatory inequality in society. In line with this theory, this chapter presents evidence that the criminal justice system can have important effects on political participation, specifically by influencing the resources and attitudes that individuals and groups bring to politics. Moreover, the criminal justice system also can impose structural and legal barriers that make participation easier for some people and more difficult for others. These barriers, coupled with the effects on individual resources and attitudes, mean that the criminal justice system can affect participation both in citizens who have direct contact, but also in citizens who merely observe the experiences of others indirectly.
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