does not legally lose his right to vote pursuant to conviction and sentencing for a crime where minimum and maximum sentences are set forth and gives no indication that a person or persons' voting rights or privileges are forfeited upon the conviction and sentencing.
Actually then, I am asked to hold that any disability of an incarcerated prisoner must be considered as a penalty additional to that of the actual sentence and commitment to jail. This, here, because a person thus incarcerated is held or restrained from participating in his right of suffrage.
The argument as presented might have added to it many other disabilities such as the right to exercise religious freedom and attend the church of his choice by a prisoner and many other similar and remote examples. Particularly would this be so, since religious freedom would be an interference with a constitutional right if it compelled a prisoner to go to the prison chapel, when in fact his religious choice was to attend a place of worship outside the prison walls. Many matters have been brought to the attention of the courts regarding suppression of rights of individuals after they have been incarcerated and become the wards of the Government because of conviction of a crime and sentence therefor.
But these have been held to be no violation of constitutional provisions. Such, for instance, are the right to unlimited access to the mails, Labat v. McKeithen, 243 F. Supp. 662 (E.D.La.1965); United States ex rel. Thompson v. Fay, 197 F. Supp. 855 (D.C.N.Y.1961), and its corollary, the right to unlimited access to the courts, Gaito v. Prasse, 312 F.2d 169, C.A.3, 1963; Hatfield v. Bailleaux, 290 F.2d 632, C.A.9, 1961, cert. den. 368 U.S. 862, 82 S. Ct. 105, 7 L. Ed. 2d 59; the right to purchase and receive law books, United States ex rel. Henson v. Myers, 244 F. Supp. 826 (D.C.Pa.1965); the right to choice of work assignments, Bryant v. Harrelson, 187 F. Supp. 738, (D.C.Tex.1960); and the right to unrestricted use of savings accounts, Bailleaux v. Holmes, 177 F. Supp. 361 (D.C.Or.1959), rev. on other grounds, 9 Cir., 290 F.2d 632, cert. den. 368 U.S. 862, 82 S. Ct. 105, 7 L. Ed. 2d 59.
Lawful incarceration brings about the necessary withdrawal or limitation of many privileges and rights, a withdrawal which is justified by the considerations underlying our penal system. To argue that the incarcerated person can be only incarcerated and not be deprived of the average person's ordinary rights as he would have had them if the prisoner were not convicted and sentenced and confined is, as a matter of common ordinary logic, absurd. It is only where fundamental, humane and necessary rights are breached that the constitutional protections become involved.
These do not include the right to vote, nor can they include any rights which interfere with the Warden's duty and function of seeing to the enforcement of the incarceration and the fulfillment of sentence after conviction.
As stated in United States ex rel. Hoge v. Maroney, 211 F. Supp. 197, 198 (W.D.Pa.1962),
"Inmates of State penitentiaries should realize that prison officials are vested with wide discretion in safeguarding prisoners committed to their custody. Discipline reasonably maintained in State prisons is not under the supervisory direction of federal courts * * * 'We think that it is well settled that it is not the function of the courts to superintend the treatment and discipline of prisoners in penitentiaries, but only to deliver from imprisonment those who are illegally confined.' Stroud v. Swope, Warden, 9 Cir., 187 F.2d 850, 851. A prisoner may not approve of prison rules and regulations, but under all ordinary circumstances that is no basis for coming into a federal court seeking relief even though he may claim that the restrictions placed upon his activities are in violation of his constitutional rights." United States ex rel. Morris v. Radio Station WENR, 209 F.2d 105, 7th Cir. 1953.