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Saturday, February 12, 2011

There is a case for prisoners voting

There is a case for prisoners voting

By Richard Ingrams, Independent, Saturday, 12 February 2011

The Daily Mail's headline yesterday told us that MPs had rejected the European Court's ruling that "prisoners must get the vote".

But that isn't quite right. Prisoners have had the vote already and it has since been taken away from them. What those angry MPs are saying is that it shouldn't be given back.

But the European Court is right. The vote, for which men fought and for which women chained themselves to the railings, ought not to be thought of as something that can be taken away as if it were a driving licence when offences have been committed.

You could argue that prisoners more than any other class deserve to have the vote before a great many of the people walking the streets in freedom. Quite apart from the fact that a sizeable percentage of them may have been unjustly imprisoned, they have a great deal more time than other groups to consider the issues during election campaigns. And if the aim is to make prisoners into better citizens, then encouraging them to cast their vote responsibly could be considered a progressive step.

But I hear none of our MPs bold enough to make the case. This is odd, seeing how some of them are in the process of being sent to prison themselves.


Charles Cowling said...

Tinder dry. Says it all -- in admirably few words.

queenie said...

I agree with Charles Cowling, a very good article, pity our sad MP's don't agree.