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Super Badnik
02-11-10, 08:45
Thousands of convicted UK prisoners are to get the right to vote after the European Court of Human Rights ruled the present ban was unlawful.

The government has exhausted all legal avenues fighting the decision made in 2005 and an announcement is expected later this week, sources told the BBC.

Lawyers have said a failure to comply could cost hundreds of millions of pounds in legal costs and compensation.

Prime Minister David Cameron was said to have reluctantly accepted that there was no way of maintaining the 140-year-old ban on sentenced prisoners voting in general elections, according to BBC political correspondent Reeta Chakrabarti.

Those around Mr Cameron say he's "absolutely horrified" by the idea of changing the law but reluctantly accepts there is no alternative.

Apart from his own unease at the idea of giving prisoners the vote, he knows full well it's a policy that is almost certain to attract bruising headlines. It will also enrage many traditional Tory supporters.

But there is a second pressing concern.

As this is a decision brought about by a ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, it's almost certain to further darken the already sour mood among Tory backbenchers over Europe - particularly in the wake of last week's EU summit and the decision to increase British funding.

No wonder then, that Mr Cameron is less than chuffed.
However, he will resist allowing the vote to those prisoners who have committed the most serious offences, our correspondent adds.

Prisoners on remand awaiting trial, fine defaulters and people jailed for contempt of court are already permitted to vote but more than 70,000 prisoners currently serving sentences in UK jails are prevented.

Following a legal challenge brought by John Hirst, who was convicted of manslaughter, a final European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling in 2005 said the blanket ban was discriminatory and breached the European Convention on Human Rights.

Under the ECHR ruling, each country can decide which offences should carry restrictions to voting rights.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the ban could be retained for murderers and others serving life sentences and judges may be given responsibility for deciding which criminals should be allowed to vote when sentencing.

The newspaper also reports that one plan is to allow inmates a vote based on their most recent postal address to stop an entire prison coming under a single constituency.

Juliet Lyon, director of the Prison Reform Trust, told the BBC: "People go to prison to lose their liberty, but they don't go for other punishments, and very many prison governors believe it [voting] is an important part of resettlement, it's a part of taking part in society.

"Prison is about rehabilitation as well as about punishment."
Source (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11671164)

After thinking about it for a while I think this probably is the right thing to do, since the vote is a basic human right and it does sound like it will be carried out in a way that is sensible and fair.

scoopy_loopy
02-11-10, 08:47
Meh. I don't see why not... In Australia it's non-voluntary for everyone - even Prisoners.

Lemmie
02-11-10, 08:59
I wonder, do their votes count for the constituency they come from, or the constituency the prison is in?

Super Badnik
02-11-10, 09:01
I wonder, do their votes count for the constituency they come from, or the constituency the prison is in?It says from their last postal adress in the article. So the constituency they come from.

Lemmie
02-11-10, 09:07
It says from their last postal adress in the article. So the constituency they come from.

Oh yes, so it does. My bad for not reading properly. :o

I suspected it would be that way anyway. I can't imagine electoral candidates pitching their stances on policies to appeal to a (literally) captive audience - maybe 'incarcerated' would be a better term - just because a major prison full of several thousand potential voters lies in the constituency they hope to represent. :p

scoopy_loopy
02-11-10, 09:08
Oh yes, so it does. My bad for not reading properly. :o

I suspected it would be that way anyway. I can't imagine electoral candidates pitching their stances on policies to appeal to a (literally) captive audience - maybe 'incarcerated' would be a better term - just because a major prison full of several thousand potential voters lies in the constituency they hope to represent. :p

Oh god! :vlol:

Cochrane
02-11-10, 09:14
Wait, UK prisoners didnít have that right before? I can see why you would add that as an additional punishment in some cases, but forbidding absolutely everybody in prison from voting seems more than just a bit extreme to me.

Forwen
02-11-10, 10:09
Wait, UK prisoners didnít have that right before? I can see why you would add that as an additional punishment in some cases, but forbidding absolutely everybody in prison from voting seems more than just a bit extreme to me.

Prisoners on remand awaiting trial, fine defaulters and people jailed for contempt of court are already permitted to vote but more than 70,000 prisoners currently serving sentences in UK jails are prevented.

trXD
02-11-10, 10:16
I'm kinda against this, criminals are the absolute opposite of contributing to society, so it just makes sense that they don't have an official say on how the country is run.

Cochrane
02-11-10, 10:17
Prisoners on remand awaiting trial, fine defaulters and people jailed for contempt of court are already permitted to vote but more than 70,000 prisoners currently serving sentences in UK jails are prevented.

Okay, sorry for not being precise. Preventing absolutely everyone sentenced to prison for a crime from voting seems extreme.

xXhayleyroxXx
02-11-10, 11:05
Hmmmm they're not the best people to have a say on things, but everyone should have the freedom of speech -- in all aspects.

Sgt BOMBULOUS
02-11-10, 11:34
Now the criminals can get voted in by their own kind!

Another Lara
02-11-10, 11:53
This just doesn't make sense to me.. someone should lose their human rights when they intentionally commit a crime, and voting is a basic human right (also, why have a say in how the country should be run, when you don't even stick to the laws of your country anyway, bit hypocritical if you ask me!)... I'm quite indifferent to the action as I don't really see prisoners making a difference, but the reason for it is what I don't like...



Sorry if that doesn't make sense but it does in my head! :o

jaywalker
02-11-10, 12:04
This just doesn't make sense to me.. someone should lose their human rights when they intentionally commit a crime, and voting is a basic human right (also, why have a say in how the country should be run, when you don't even stick to the laws of your country anyway, bit hypocritical if you ask me!)... I'm quite indifferent to the action as I don't really see prisoners making a difference, but the reason for it is what I don't like...



Sorry if that doesn't make sense but it does in my head! :o

know what u mean, most prisoners have actively chosen to break the LAW of the land created by the government, so why should they get to chose who is the government if they dont follow the laws they set..

again EU forcing policy on us..

Dennis's Mom
02-11-10, 12:17
Prison isn't much of a punishment if you're not . . . punished. I'm not sure that someone who is in prison should have a say in what happens "outside". It's like parenting advice from people who don't have to go home and deal with your kids every day.

Or letting people outside your country have a say in what happens inside your country. *raises eyebrows*

The Great Chi
02-11-10, 12:19
...again EU forcing policy on us..Well, you voted to be in the EU, no matter what crazy laws they come out with.

Like the EURO STANDARD SAUSAGE (what goes into making a sausage) and EURO STANDARD SHAPED BANANA (its shape) :D

If I remember you won the sausage law, but lost the banana one, where very bent bananas were not allowed, and must conform to looking european shaped :vlol:

Only Brussels beurocracy can come out with all this wierd nonsense :p

PS...... This is me knocking and mocking the EU sillyness, not mocking the UK ;)

knightgames
02-11-10, 12:30
If criminals can't live within the boundaries of society, then why should they have a voice to mold it? Sorry. I'm not for this one bit.

jaywalker
02-11-10, 13:02
Well, you voted to be in the EU, no matter what crazy laws they come out with.

Like the EURO STANDARD SAUSAGE (what goes into making a sausage) and EURO STANDARD SHAPED BANANA (its shape) :D

If I remember you won the sausage law, but lost the banana one, where very bent bananas were not allowed, and must conform to looking european shaped :vlol:

Only Brussels beurocracy can come out with all this wierd nonsense :p

PS...... This is me knocking and mocking the EU sillyness, not mocking the UK ;)

i didnt vote to be in the EU, there was no referendum..

scoopy_loopy
02-11-10, 13:12
I wish Australia could be apart of the EU. I quite like what I've heard, that and the ease of travel it would allow would make it worth it to me anyway. :p

Love2Raid
02-11-10, 13:13
No voting rights? Thatīs odd.

They are prisoners, but they are still citizens. They may not be part of the īsocietyī, but they still have their nationality, their citizenship. Also, most of them are not sentenced for life. Imagine what it would be like to be released after 100% isolation from īoutsideī. Itīs bad for everyone.

Punaxe
02-11-10, 13:21
Well, you voted to be in the EU, no matter what crazy laws they come out with.

Like the EURO STANDARD SAUSAGE (what goes into making a sausage) and EURO STANDARD SHAPED BANANA (its shape) :D

If I remember you won the sausage law, but lost the banana one, where very bent bananas were not allowed, and must conform to looking european shaped :vlol:

Only Brussels beurocracy can come out with all this wierd nonsense :p

PS...... This is me knocking and mocking the EU sillyness, not mocking the UK ;)

Standardized labeling makes sense to me - if I travel around, buy what is called a sausage and find that it is actually a package of minced tendons, I would not be very happy. With a shared market comes a shared definition of what certain food really is. The size and shape regulations were of course nonsense, which is why they've been repealed last year.

(On topic: I agree with Juliet Lyon, quoted in the article, and with the ECHR ruling stating that it can be decided on a per-crime or even per-case basis who is to lose their voting right. It's simply the all-encompassing "nobody in prison gets to vote"-thing (sorry Forwen) that is the problem.)

Cochrane
02-11-10, 13:22
First of all, the European Court of Human Rights is not part of the EU. It comes from the European convention in human rights. The EU is a party to this treaty, but the court is entirely separate and has jurisdiction in many non-EU countries as well.

Second: Criminals have rights just like everybody else. Not as much, obviously, e.g. their right to freedom is severely limited. But they are still humans and citizens. Taking away their rights can only be done to the degree that is absolutely necessary to see justice served. It is not fair to take away all rights, no matter how much we might want to when talking about the evil criminals in general. Taking away someone's most basic civil right, the right to vote, is a pretty extreme measure. And if the crime is appropriate, it can be justified. But there are many minor crimes that I don't think justify such measures.

Spong
02-11-10, 13:31
http://www.raproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/i_dont_care.jpg

Prisoners being given the vote? Meh...

Catapharact
02-11-10, 14:06
Second: Criminals have rights just like everybody else. Not as much, obviously, e.g. their right to freedom is severely limited. But they are still humans and citizens. Taking away their rights can only be done to the degree that is absolutely necessary to see justice served. It is not fair to take away all rights, no matter how much we might want to when talking about the evil criminals in general. Taking away someone's most basic civil right, the right to vote, is a pretty extreme measure. And if the crime is appropriate, it can be justified. But there are many minor crimes that I don't think justify such measures.

IMO the right to vote should be one of the top three rights that needs to be taken away from prisoners along with privacy rights and incarceration. The criminals are behind bars because they are a menace to society and antagonists. As such, they have no right to have a say in decisions made by a city. Voting is the fundamental right that is granted to a person upon becoming a citizen of a nations and it should only be limited to law abiding citizens of that given nation.

Cochrane
02-11-10, 14:37
IMO the right to vote should be one of the top three rights that needs to be taken away from prisoners along with privacy rights and incarceration. The criminals are behind bars because they are a menace to society and antagonists. As such, they have no right to have a say in decisions made by a city. Voting is the fundamental right that is granted to a person upon becoming a citizen of a nations and it should only be limited to law abiding citizens of that given nation.

I respectfully but strongly disagree. The right to vote is, as you say, the fundamental right of a citizen. It is not the ultimate privilege, but the basis of all participation in society: No matter who you are, who you know or who is willing to listen to you, you can make your opinion heard by voting. As such, we canít restrict it to whoever we deem "worthy". Iím not not saying that it canít be restricted, but it has to be done for a good reason.

Criminals, in general, are not enemies of society. They are still part of it, just not the most useful one, and they deserve treatment according to this. I am not talking about child molesters and murderers here. But consider an unemployed person, no education, no money and no fixed home address, who became a minor partner in a friendís Ebay fraud scheme, total damage about 20,000-30,000 Ä. This was an actual case I read about in my local paper some time ago. The guy got eight months in jail for his part, which was quite a lot (it would have been a probatory sentence, but with no fixed home address and similar priors, his social prediction was considered negative). Is there any good reason not to allow him voting during these eight months, but right afterwards, especially when the term of whoever is up for election lasts four years or more?

Besides, it is not as if the rights of criminals donít matter. What if someone is in prison due to a (possibly) unfair law? Shouldnít he be allowed to elect someone who promises to reform this part of law? This may be rare in a modern country like the UK, but it is definitely not something that never happens.

Catapharact
02-11-10, 14:51
I respectfully but strongly disagree. The right to vote is, as you say, the fundamental right of a citizen. It is not the ultimate privilege, but the basis of all participation in society: No matter who you are, who you know or who is willing to listen to you, you can make your opinion heard by voting. As such, we canít restrict it to whoever we deem "worthy". Iím not not saying that it canít be restricted, but it has to be done for a good reason.

Criminals, in general, are not enemies of society. They are still part of it, just not the most useful one, and they deserve treatment according to this. I am not talking about child molesters and murderers here. But consider an unemployed person, no education, no money and no fixed home address, who became a minor partner in a friendís Ebay fraud scheme, total damage about 20,000-30,000 Ä. This was an actual case I read about in my local paper some time ago. The guy got eight months in jail for his part, which was quite a lot (it would have been a probatory sentence, but with no fixed home address and similar priors, his social prediction was considered negative). Is there any good reason not to allow him voting during these eight months, but right afterwards, especially when the term of whoever is up for election lasts four years or more?

Besides, it is not as if the rights of criminals donít matter. What if someone is in prison due to a (possibly) unfair law? Shouldnít he be allowed to elect someone who promises to reform this part of law? This may be rare in a modern country like the UK, but it is definitely not something that never happens.

Oh they do have the right to freedom of speech and personal opinion but as I see it, they have no right to have legislative powers to input changes in society during their incarceration time period. IMO there should be certain bona fide qualifications that need to applied when deciding as to who gets to vote. In Canada for instance, the legal voting age is set at 18 since kids under the age cannot take upon the liability of voting someone in power that can place influential changes in society.

Same applies with Criminals. During their time behind bars, they should be exempt from the general voting population since their views cannot be taken into account. After when they have done their time, they can vote again.

Mad Tony
02-11-10, 16:00
i didnt vote to be in the EU, there was no referendum..Yep. We (the country) voted in the people who put us in the EU but nobody voted for the EU itself. I think when we originally went into the EU (known then as the ECC) it wasn't so bad. Over time the EU has gradually become more controlling.

I wouldn't mind so much if our own government wanted convicts to be able to vote but the fact that the previous government have been fighting the EU on this since the past five years and has now failed is rather sad.

Absolutely ridiculous. I know it says in the article we'd have to pay millions in legal costs if we didn't comply but really, what if we just refused to bow down to Brussels? What would they do?

Ward Dragon
02-11-10, 16:02
The US varies by state, but I think in general felons lose their right to vote while in prison, and in some states even after they get out (a felony is a crime that's serious enough to have a sentence longer than a year). They also lose other rights like owning guns. So that's what I'm used to. Therefore it makes sense to me that someone who has committed a crime serious enough to be in prison for a long time wouldn't be able to vote while in prison. I don't think there's anything wrong with someone who has committed a misdemeanor (short jail sentence) sending in an absentee ballot though.

But anyway, it sounds like the UK can still ban prisoners from voting, they just need to more clearly define which crimes result in a loss of voting rights.

Mikky
02-11-10, 16:05
Great. Sounds fair to me. I mean, why shouldn't they get the right to vote? They're as human as the rest of us.

Avalon SARL
02-11-10, 16:47
Sounds just, but I have a question...
Will the leaders to be elected have more visits to these prisons promising the prisoners with the PROMISE OF FREEDOM and other promises they go giving to people during election battles :p:p

Cochrane
02-11-10, 18:14
Yep. We (the country) voted in the people who put us in the EU but nobody voted for the EU itself. I think when we originally went into the EU (known then as the ECC) it wasn't so bad. Over time the EU has gradually become more controlling.

I wouldn't mind so much if our own government wanted convicts to be able to vote but the fact that the previous government have been fighting the EU on this since the past five years and has now failed is rather sad.

Absolutely ridiculous. I know it says in the article we'd have to pay millions in legal costs if we didn't comply but really, what if we just refused to bow down to Brussels? What would they do?

Brussels wonít do anything because this isnít mandated by the EU, but by the European Court of Human Rights, which is a distinct institution. I realize that you probably donít care and consider everything with the E-word in it an enemy of the UK, but there is a significant difference here. The European Court of Human Rights has only as much power as a government gives it. By default, it can order the government to pay money to whoever sued, and thatís it.

The UK, however, have given this court significant powers, more than many other signatories of the European Convention on Human Rights, because under the Human Rights Act of 1998, the ECHR serves as a replacement for the UKís non-existing Bill of Rights. This law is what makes decisions of the European Court of Human Rights binding on the british justice, and the millions in legal cost and compensation would not go to any multinational institution, but to the british prisoners suing and winning in british courts.

Mad Tony
02-11-10, 18:19
Brussels wonít do anything because this isnít mandated by the EU, but by the European Court of Human Rights, which is a distinct institution. I realize that you probably donít care and consider everything with the E-word in it an enemy of the UK, but there is a significant difference here. The European Court of Human Rights has only as much power as a government gives it. By default, it can order the government to pay money to whoever sued, and thatís it.

The UK, however, have given this court significant powers, more than many other signatories of the European Convention on Human Rights, because under the Human Rights Act of 1998, the ECHR serves as a replacement for the UKís non-existing Bill of Rights. This law is what makes decisions of the European Court of Human Rights binding on the british justice, and the millions in legal cost and compensation would not go to any multinational institution, but to the british prisoners suing and winning in british courts.Hmm, I didn't know that. Of course, that doesn't mean it's not wrong that a European court has influence over British affairs but of course most of the blame must fall on the previous governments who have given away this power.

For the record, I don't hate anything to do with Europe? Why have you got it in your head that I hate Europe?

Cochrane
02-11-10, 18:28
For the record, I don't hate anything to do with Europe? Why have you got it in your head that I hate Europe?

You are the only person I know who lives in the UK and objects to being called "European". Or did you change your opinion on that?

Lara's Nemesis
02-11-10, 18:28
Will be interesting to see the politicians visiting jails trying to win votes, hopefully they might keep some of them in there.

Love2Raid
02-11-10, 18:38
Will be interesting to see the politicians visiting jails trying to win votes, hopefully they might keep some of them in there.
:vlol:

Best post in this thread, lol.

Mad Tony
02-11-10, 18:41
You are the only person I know who lives in the UK and objects to being called "European". Or did you change your opinion on that?Just because I don't consider myself European doesn't mean I have anything against Europe. Come on Cochrane, you know I hate the EU but that's about it.

Super Badnik
02-11-10, 19:35
Just because I don't consider myself European doesn't mean I have anything against Europe. Come on Cochrane, you know I hate the EU but that's about it.Dosen't living in a European country make you European?

Avalon SARL
02-11-10, 19:41
Will be interesting to see the politicians visiting jails trying to win votes, hopefully they might keep some of them in there.

:vlol: :vlol::tmb:

Mad Tony
02-11-10, 20:40
Dosen't living in a European country make you European?European is an identity thing much the same way as whether you're Kentish, English, British or whatever.

Miharu
02-11-10, 21:26
Alot of people on the news etc. said they were "disgusted," etc.

But I really don't see the big deal, sure there's murderers and rapists etc. but everyone has a basic right to vote, I mean they dont have a right to just kill someone or assault them but they should have a right to vote as it doesn't kill anyone or hurt anyone etc.

If you understand me. But in 100% honesty, I couldn't give them two ****s whether they have the right to vote.

toxicraider
02-11-10, 21:50
I don't really see a problem with preventing prisoners from voting, especially if their sentence means they won't be released in time to benefit from the choice they made. It might be seen as a basic human right, but I don't see it as cruel to deny it to somebody, if they have commited a serious crime.
On the other hand, they might also be voting for their children and family, who may be innocent, and would be affected by the outcome of the votes, so I think they do still have the right to vote in the interests of their children.