Posts Tagged ‘Prisoner

29
Jun
12

Not popular, but important

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Last month I attended the 2012 young Labour conference. I spoke at the podium once, in favour of only one motion. This was the only motion (to my knowledge) which was voted down. But it was close…

69 members voted for the motion that “prisoners should have the right to vote”, with 71 voting against.This overly-simplistic motion is full of holes, I know. It’s also not massively important how a young labour conference votes (however much we kid ourselves), I know. It is the principle that needs to be carefully considered and we must realise that, however unpopular this may, as a matter of human rights, some prisoners should be given voting rights, for a number of reasons.

I don’t see this as merely a detached argument about rights that may or my not be fundamental in the case of prisoners who have been convicted of less serious crimes, but as a practical one regarding the rehabilitation of prisoners towards being citizens within a positive society.
If you are seeking to aid someone on the path to rehabilitation through education, training and substance cessation, there is a definite aim for this process. The aim is that a prisoner should enter the world at the end of their sentence and from that time on function as positive members of the societies they re-enter. I am not a vindictive, swivelled-eyed right winger who believes in punishment purely for the sake of it. Punishment should have a clear purpose and stopping prisoners re-offending should be one the main ones.

Another (and less popular) argument is that we should take the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights. If I get comments on this post that the ECHR is a “foreign court” and should be ignored I will have to have a very very long lie down in a dark room. Britain and its European compatriots set up this court and the European Convention on Human Rights in order to further and protect Human Rights in the whole of wider Europe. After using the court as powerful tool in bringing other countries up to better standards, why should we be immune from its rulings when we are found to be wanting?

If I were to commit a crime and go into prison just as an election is called, why should I not be allowed to vote against a government who would plunge the country into a second recessional dip and cause myself and my family pain once I am figuratively purified by my rightful punishment and looking to give back to the community I have harmed.

It is clear that those who commit violent, disgusting or dishonesty crimes should be barred from voting and judges could also pay attention to this when sentencing those convicted, however we should not stop all prisoners in all circumstances from voting.

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