Three States Vote for Governor This Fall. Each Has Criminal Justice Stakes.

Three states hold governor’s races this fall. Each will shape the scope and harshness of the criminal legal system, as well as the availability of social services whose existence or absence impacts the resort to incarceration.

The Political Report has now reported on the three elections, focusing each time on one issue related to mass incarceration and criminal legal reform.

Decarceration in Louisiana: Will there be the political will to keep shrinking the state’s prison population? Louisiana shed its status as the country’s top incarcerator last year, but reforms signed by Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards have been under attack in the governor’s race.

Medicaid expansion in Mississippi: Mississippi has not expanded Medicaid to cover more low-income residents, as provided by the Affordable Care Act. Expansion can facilitate a public health approach to issues now funneled through prisons and jails. Democratic nominee Jim Hood and Republican nominee Tate Reeves are staunchly divided on the issue.

Rights restoration in Kentucky: Democratic nominee Andy Beshear says he would use executive power to restore voting rights to tens of thousands of people with criminal whom GOP Governor Matt Bevin disenfranchised four years ago. Kentucky has one of the two highest rates of disenfranchisement in the country, along with Mississippi.

Louisiana votes on Oct. 12, and if no one secures a majority that day, a runoff will be held Nov. 16. Kentucky and Mississippi vote on Nov. 5.

Louisiana and Mississippi are also holding elections for sheriff and prosecutors, as are some jurisdictions in California, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Read more in the Appeal: Political Report’s coverage of the 2019 local elections.