Should prisoners be given the right to vote?
The UK has been accused of breaching the European Convention of Human Rights Article 3 of protocol 1 by having a blanket ban on prisoners voting. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) promotes the idea that convicted prisoners should be allowed to vote and have a right to vote, despite the Conservative party being opposed to this view. As a result the ECHR have being pressuring the Tory’s to bow to their rules for many years. This essay will examine the history behind the debate of prisoners voting and, give reasons in favour of the ban and opposing to the ban, whilst strongly promoting the view that prisoners should not have the right to vote. In 1870, under the Forfeiture Act, prisoners automatically lost their right to vote. This was then maintained under the 1983 Representation of the People Act. John Hirst, a criminal convicted of manslaughter, opened a case against the UK government in 2005 where the ECHR ruled that the ban on British felons voting was in opposition to the European Convention on Human Rights (Hirst v UK, 2005). The Council of Europe warned the government that if they did not take action and make a ruling on the voting issue, they risked substantial compensation claims. The Liberal democrats were in favour of allowing certain prisoners to vote whereas the Conservative party are against any reform. Dominic Grieves said, “Civic rights go with civic responsibility, but these rights have been violated by those who have committed imprisonable offences” (Winnett and Whitehead, 2009). People who choose to make irresponsible decisions should not have the responsibility to determine the way the country is run. On the 10th of February 2011 the House of Commons parliamentarians had an in house debate and voted in support of the backbench movement in favour of upholding the current ban where prisoners lose their right to vote, apart from individuals confined for contempt, default or on remand (Davis, 2011). 234 parliamentarians out of 256 voted that it was not justifiable (Davis, 2011). Can prisoners voting be philosophically, morally or politically justifiable (Miles, 2004)? 234 parliamentarians out of 256 voted against prisoners voting that it was not justifiable to allow them to vote (Davis, 2011). Those who have committed a crime or committed a series of crimes and have been incarcerated should lose the right to vote and this view is support by the majority of the House of Commons parliamentarians. The Tory chairman Nick Gibbs is quoted saying, “Being in prison is about losing your liberty and losing the right to free association and engagement in society” (Swinford, 2013). It is therefore clearly questionable and not politically justifiable to allow, killers, and sex offenders to have an impact on the way the country is governed. Incarceration should and does bring with it exclusion from society. The people that break laws should definitely not have the ability to determine the people that create the laws. This is simply common sense and this is what the UK penal policy focuses on (Loader, 2006). The minority argue that we send people to prison with little encouragement to rehabilitate. It is suggested that prisoners should be encouraged to be active in society and by taking away their right to vote their contribution to society is discouraged. Fyodor Dostoevsky once said, “You can judge how civilised a society is by how well it treats its prisoners” (Scott, 2011). The British are generally viewed as a civilised nation and it is argued that by taking away the voting right of the prisoners the British demonstrate how uncivilised they can be (Lyon, 2010). Society should be giving the prisoners a chance to change and become rehabilitated active citizens. The former home secretary Jack Straw describes to parliamentarians how the UK makes “every effort to treat prisoners with dignity and to prepare them better for the outside world” (Straw, 2011). This is...
...Walker, Aulisha S
October 20, 2013
Professor M. Hannah
ShouldPrisoners Have the Right to Vote?
The United States is one of the world’s strictest nations when it comes to denying the right to vote to citizens convicted of serious crimes. They are prisoners; of course they shouldn’t have the right to vote. The government didright by denying them their right to vote. Once you are imprisoned, most of your rights are taken away from you. You are now a felon, depending on your sentence, whom has to abide by the rules of the prison.
It was mentioned that prison is meant to be rehabilitative, but not all prison sentences are meant to be rehabilitative but purely punitive. Life without parole and death row inmates are not in there for rehab. When individuals commit a crime and are sentenced to prison, they should lose those rights because they've proven to be non-productive and non-deserving of the rights and privileges you and I enjoy. I'm not going to just throw this stink-bomb out there; everyone knows the only political party who wants this is the Democrats, because they would receive 99% of the criminal vote.
Prison was created to punishment those for their unlawful actions. When you become a...
...Should all prisoners be given the right to vote or should it be limited only to some or to none at all? Provide a reasoned argument for your decision.
Examination Code: R12630
Module Code: 6FFLK020
Date of Submission: 28/03/2013
he majority of democratic societies recognise the right to vote as an essential human right. Despite this, there are a number of countries where leaders believe that the disenfranchisement of prisoners, merely as a result of their imprisonment, is a justified and prerequisite manifestation of punishment. The United Kingdom is one these countries but the case of Hirst in 2005 has forced the UK to revaluate its position, and has seen the debate of prisoners’ right to vote resurface in light of this case. In answering the question of whether all prisonersshould be given the right to vote or whether it should be limited only to some or to none at all, this essay will first discuss the philosophical backgrounds to civil and political rights in general and what happens to these rights when the law is breached. It will then analyse a number of different moral and legal arguments in favour of and against giving prisoners a right...
ShouldPrisoners lose their Constitutional Rights while in Prison
As the number of prisoners increase within the prison systems today, a question has risen on shouldprisoners lose their constitutional rights while in prison. Constitutional rights are the rights that are granted to the citizens by the government. These rights can’t be taken away legally. The way a prisoner is treated is not based on their behaviors or what crime they’ve committed, but is left up to the administrators of the prison. “In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the federal courts began to oversee state prison systems and develop a body of law dealing with prisoners' rights. During the 1980s, however, a more conservative Supreme Court limited prisoners' rights, and, in the 1990s, Congress enacted laws that severely restricted litigation and post-conviction appeals by prisoners”. (freedictionary.com) for you who don’t know, a prisoner is anyone deprived, or disadvantaged of personal liberties against their will following their conviction of a crime. Though they can’t do everything that we know a free person can, they are still guaranteed a minimal or certain amount of rights. Before they are sentenced there’s a due process of law that...
Who is a prisoner?
A prisoner, also known as an inmate, is a person who is deprived of liberty against their will. This can be by confinement, captivity, or by forcible restraint. The term applies particularly to those on trial or serving a prison sentence.
Prisoner" is a legal term for a person who is imprisoned.
In section 1 of the Prison Security Act 1992, the word “prisoner” means any person for the time being in a prison as a result of any requirement imposed by a court or otherwise that he be detained in legal custody.
Prisoner" was a legal term for a person prosecuted for felony. It was not applicable to a person prosecuted for misdemeanour. The abolition of the distinction between felony and misdemeanour by section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1967 has rendered this distinction obsolete.
Glanville Williams described as "invidious" the practice of using the term "prisoner" in reference to a person who had not been convicted.
Purpose of imprisonment
Deprivation of freedom or removal from the free society. Sentencers usually consider the legitimate expectation of the public in deciding on a sentence that supports this objective because, unless the public regard this punishment as at least, in some respect, fitting the crime, respect for the law will be diminished.
The idea is that convicted offenders will not repeat the...
...Constitutional Law PrisonerRights
Of all forms of punishment, the death penalty is by far the most controversial and also the most rarely used. Capital punishment was once almost the only penalty applied to convicted felons. By the time of the American Revolution, the English courts had defined more than 200 felonies, all of which were “capital offenses”. However, many death penalties were not carried out; instead, offenders were pardoned or banished to penal colonies. Over time, courts and legislatures began to recognize other forms of punishment, such as imprisonment and probation.
In the times of the American colonies, capital punishment was used extensively in England and in the early American colonies, as many crimes other than murder resulted in a penalty of death. Corporal punishments, often very brutal, also often resulted in death as the imposition of such torture severely injured the offender. Both torture and executions were often carried out in public, as a deterrent to others. The idea was that if others saw what the punishment was for such a crime, that perhaps the said crime would be prevented from happening altogether. Public executions, however, were ceased in 1936 when several thousand people witnessed the execution by hanging of a black man convicted of raping and murdering a white woman in Kentucky.
Prisonerrights are based on a general principle that each prisoner will...
...PrisonersRights: Some Landmark Judgements
The past decade has witnessed an increasing consciousness about the desirability of prison reforms, It is now being recognized that a reformative philosophy and a rehabilitative strategy must form a part of prison justice.
The ro!e of the Supreme Court in the past five years in introducing jail reforms has been commendable. Its quest for prison justice is probably a result of its attempt to revive liberty after extinguishing it in the Habeas Corpus case. In fact, the Supreme Court had commented in that case during the emergency that the treatment meted out to the detainees was almost mater-nal. The Supreme Court carried the ratio of the habeas Corpus case (ADM Jabalpur Vs. Shiv Kant Shukla) that Article 21 is the sole repository of life and liberty and during the emergency when liberty is suspended, due to the Presidential proclamation suspending Article 21, to the Prison conditions, and held in Bhanudas's case that a detainee during emergency could not agitate for better Jail Conditions and facilities.
Maneka Gandhi's case was a landmark in Indian jurisprudence. The Maneka principle was extended to prison conditions and particularly to the plight of under-trials. A series of news items appeared in "The Indian Express" about the continued incarceration of under-trials in Bihar Jails. Some of them were never produced before the courts. Some others had spent more time in jails as under-trials than the...
...Should Felons be Allowed to Vote?
About 5.26 million people with a felony conviction are not allowed to vote in elections. Each state has its own laws on disenfranchisement. Nine states in America permanently restrict felons from voting while Vermont and Maine allow felons to vote while in prison. Proponents of felon re-enfranchisement believe felons who have paid their debt to society by completing their sentencesshould have all of their rights and privileges restored. They argue that efforts to block ex-felons from voting are unfair, undemocratic, and politically or racially motivated. Opponents of felon voting say the restrictions are consistent with other voting limitations such as age, residency, mental capacity, and other felon restrictions such as no guns for violent offenders. They say that convicted felons have demonstrated poor judgment and should not be trusted with a vote. I believe convicted felons should be allowed to vote upon release from prison because they exercise good judgment; in addition, withholding their right to vote would be a violation of the US Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the eighth amendment.
One reason ex-felons are not allowed to vote is because of their perceived judgment. According to Roger Clegg, President and General Counsel of the Center...
...Should Felons Be Able to Vote?
“We let ex-convicts marry, reproduce, buy beer, own property and drive. They don’t lose their freedom of religion, their right against self-incrimination… they can’t be trusted to help choose our leaders… If we thought criminals could never be reformed, we wouldn’t let them out of prison in the first place (Chapman, Steve).” Many believe that felons should be able to vote due to the fact that they served their time in prison and already received their consequence. When felons already served their time, they are told they have their “freedom”. Yet, they do not have the same rights they did before they were arrested. Felons have paid enough of a price by serving their assigned sentence which shouldn’t lead into having the right to vote taken away from them.
On the other hand, others believe that felons do not deserve the right to vote. Such as, Ehrlinch, “I don’t think you reward the franchise to those who commit the most horrific crimes… (Ehrlinch, Robert).” He states that, voting is a reward and felons shouldn’t be rewarded because of their crimes. They also believe felons who convicted a crime have shown bad-judgment, which proves them unfit to make good decisions, especially choosing the nation's leaders. Although many believe that if felons are given the right to...