Bitching Brew

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Prisoners' right to vote upheld

The Financial Times reports that the European Court of Human Rights has ruled against a UK law banning prisoners from voting. The court has established that the right to free elections extends equally to prisoners. Of course, this decision will apply to every state that has ratified the Convention on Human Rights - all EU states, most other European states.

I'm heartened by this decision. Prisoners are denied plenty of freedoms as it is. But they should be entitled to public representation in the same way as any other EU citizen or resident. To legislate otherwise is a smack in the face for liberal democracy.

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  • One could argue that they gave up that right when they stole, murdered, raped, swindled etc.

    I'm very against prisoners having the right to vote, however having visited Maghaberry prison in Northern Ireland recently (a very depressing experience), it occurred to me that the fact prisoners did not have conjugal rights seems far more of an issue. Where a prisoner has a spouse, they are punished enough by the fact they can only see their husband/wife once a week for a couple of hours. They ought to be allowed conjugal rights, marriages and relationships are put under enough pressure by prison without the final blow of not being allowed to right to have children.

    By the way, one the above issue, can you imagine trying to canvass in prisons...if they are allowed to vote then they will be entitled to election literation and an opportunity to meet and question the person running. Furthermore, for which constituency do they vote in? Their home constituency or the constituency in which the prison is. Its a whole can of worms.

    By Blogger Rebecca, at Fri Oct 07, 10:53:00 a.m.  

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