Should people serving prison sentences be permitted to vote in elections?

  • They are still citizens of the United States

    The notion that we can pick and choose who gets the most essential right as an American citizen is ridiculous. Preventing gun ownership of repeat offenders of violent crime is to protect the lives of other citizens, but to abandon the right to vote simply because one has committed a crime? So anyone caught with a quarter ounce of marijuana shouldn't be allowed to vote? This is a very slippery slope. Think about it this way: If certain tyrannical laws are put into place, and the people imprisoned by those laws aren't allowed to vote, that would perpetuate tyranny with no safeguard whatsoever.

  • Rehabilitation?

    How can we expect people who have committed crimes to be fully rehabilitated afterwards if they have no reason to follow or understand current political matters? One of the fundamental aims of punishment is to eventually rehabilitate those who offended back into society; with no knowledge of what has happened in politics since they first went into prison, and no need to know, prisoners cannot be reintegrated successfully into society. Secondly, if politicians were required to also appeal to prisoners, there would be less need for prisoners to riot to have their voice heard, as those in positions of power would want to listen to their requests.

  • Why David Cameron should abide by the law

    Why David Cameron should abide by European law

    I heard today on the radio David Cameron assuring us that "prisoners are not getting the vote under this government." I wasn't in fact aware that prisoners couldn't vote in the UK until late last year when the issue was in the news. But now I am aware of it I find it unacceptable. I was pleased that both the European Court of Human Rights and the Strasburg Court both ruled that Britain must bring its laws in line with the rest of Europe on this issue, but today I was appalled to hear David Cameron so proudly proclaim his contempt for those courts' rulings. 1. I believe everyone should have the right to vote in a democracy. Democracy means the 'rule of the people'. I strongly believe that should include all adults. I can understand there might be some justification for disenfranchising people who are so mentally deficient that they could be unduly manipulated into voting a certain way, and the same of course applies to children, but I fail to see the justification for disenfranchising anyone else. 2. Voting is a good thing. The more people who vote the better. Also, it is not primarily a right to some 'good' like the right to healthcare or to justice or to education; it is more of a duty and a responsibility. One votes because one cares about the community one is a part of. (Even someone who votes out of anger and hatred is still motivated by a desire to protect a community he cares about from those he is voting against.) I fail to see what can be achieved by preventing prisoners from playing this important part in society. 3. I believe in the rule of law. For a prime minister to openly flout the law in this way is very worrying indeed. It makes me wonder in what other situations he might think himself above the law. I am reminded of that famous statement of Richard Nixon's: "Well, when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal." 4. Breaking the law in this way, and denying prisoners their legal rights is likely to lead to prisoners being (quite rightly) awarded compensation by the courts. I don't think anyone really wants it to come to that. 5. If a category of people is disenfranchised in this way it puts the validity of election results in doubt. It makes elections that little bit less 'free and fair'. Someone can always claim that prisoners are more likely to vote Labour (for example) and that denying prisoners votes is a way to unfairly skew an election result in favour of the Conservatives. In the USA, which seems to be the only other major country where 'prisoner disenfrachisement' is practiced routinely (not sure about China) it is often claimed (says Wikipedia) that this is ade facto racist policy, as proportionately more blacks are convicted of felonies. Better I think to not lay oneself open to such charges. 6. The rest of Europe allows prisoners to vote and it isn't even an issue in those countries as far as I am aware. Like the vast majority of Europeans I frankly don't understand what all the outrage is about, and I don't remember ever having heard David Cameron (or anyone else) explain why prisoners shouldn't have the vote. He appears to think the reason is so self-evident that he doesn't need to make the case for it. I just hope he can be made to see reason and that he has not 'boxed himself into a corner' on this issue.

  • Its a Right, Not a Privilege!

    Voting is a right that is very important to American Citizens. This isnt a fleeting privilege that is taken away when ever government feels its no longer necessary. Not letting the jailed vote is discrimination. And its important that American citizens get their say in government, for that is the purpose of a Republic.

  • It encourages politicians to get in touch with prisoners

    Allowing prisoners to vote, means politicians will have to engage with prisoners and actually understand and listen to them. This could well have a positive effect on society, as politicians or rather their research team can perhaps understand from real prisoners, why they commit crimes and how to prevent future crimes.

  • There is no just logic behind taking away someones civil rights!

    A prison sentence is a period of time spent reflecting on past wrongs. Luxuries & rights are stripped away, forcing the "wrong doer" to be a prisoner as a result of their choices. However upon release, all of the rights if not the luxuries should be returned. Prison is meant for rehabilitation not a permanent state of punishment.

  • Yes and yes

    if you are imprisoned, you are not allowed to vote. Also, anyone convicted of a felony permanently loses their right to vote. I think we should take a look at why someone is imprisoned, before arbitrarily taking away their right to vote. If someone is in prison for murder, I don't think they should be allowed to vote. If, however, one is convicted of repeated moving violations and given jail time, I think the right to vote should not be taken away. In short, why someone is imprisoned should play into the decision of whether or not they can vote.

  • I agree that, within certain limits, people serving prison sentences should be allowed to vote, because certain reasons for imprisonment have nothing to do with that particular right.

    As it currently stands, if you are imprisoned, you are not allowed to vote. Also, anyone convicted of a felony permanently loses their right to vote. I think we should take a look at why someone is imprisoned, before arbitrarily taking away their right to vote. If someone is in prison for murder, I don't think they should be allowed to vote. If, however, one is convicted of repeated moving violations and given jail time, I think the right to vote should not be taken away. In short, why someone is imprisoned should play into the decision of whether or not they should legally be able to vote.

    Posted by: TrainLock
  • I think If you are serving a sentence for a crime, then that is your punishment, and that does not waive your "right to vote".

    You still have rights, even in prison. It is true that the concept of prison should take away some freedoms, but what it essentially does is just reduce the individual's ability to commit further crimes. Hence, being in jail is no reason to remove the rights of an individual that are clearly outlined in the Bill of Rights, and that includes the right to vote.

    Posted by: TalentedThanh75
  • All prisoners who are eligible to vote, have a chance of getting out, and have an address, should be able to vote in elections because they are citizens, just like the rest of us.

    Even though they are in prison, prisoners who meet voting requirements, including a legal address outside the prison walls, should be allowed to vote in elections. This is because they are citizens, and they should have a say in what is going on in the community that they will eventually return to.

    Posted by: eyeslikethat
  • no

    Prisoners have committed a crime that effects society in a certain way. it doesn't matter how much it has affected it, it is the general fact that it has. their punishment for this is being locked away from the public as it is not safe for them to be around them. why should people who affect society have the right to make an input into it?

  • No

    Prisoners have gone against the law and yet people are suggesting that they should be allowed to vote FOR the law? Wrong.
    They are in prison for a reason and all rights should be stripped from them (except those with short sentences).
    They shouldn't be allowed whilst doing their time in prison, when they get out, they should vote.

  • Voting is a right that those who live outside the law should not be given.

    Allowing murderers, drug users and dealers, rapists and child molesters among others to vote is absurd. Prison is their punishment for committing crimes that are sometimes so devastating and gruesome people can barely speak of them. A loss of freedom means just that and one of those freedoms is the right to vote. Since they are incarcerated anyway, the outcome will basically have no effect on them so there is no reason to allow them to pick and choose a candidate or a cause.

    Posted by: N3vinFace
  • People serving prison sentences should NOT be permitted to vote in elections.

    A person who is serving a prison sentence is a CRIMINAL! In one way or another they have broken the law. These people would not be the best people to help choose who will be a law maker. Just think about it. The drug dealers in prison would want to vote for the candidate that will legalize drugs. The murderer would vote for the candidate that would have leniency on murderers. Any prisoner would want to vote for the candidate that could get them out of prison. No matter what the crime there would be partiality to the candidate that would make life better for that person. I am a firm believer that inmates already have to many conveniences. Prison is supposed to be a place you don't want to go...not a place where you can go and get three meals a day, cable television and a playground.

    Posted by: w00tboycomic
  • I do not think that we should allow people who are serving prison sentences the right to vote.

    Voting is a privilege of people who are citizens to elect officials to help govern them. I think that people who are incarcerated after being convicted of a crime, particularly for felonies, should forfeit this right. Once released from prison and part of society again, then the right should be restored. People who are in jail awaiting trial should however be allowed to vote.

    Posted by: SilverMathi
  • People serving prison sentences should not be allowed to vote - the vote could be too easily manipulated.

    People who are serving prison sentences should not be allowed to vote for the reason that there is too great a possibility for abuse of the electoral system. Votes could be easily bought for candidates, or prison gangs could dictate how inmates votes by means of threat and intimidation, making every election a sham instead of a true democratic process.

    Posted by: ThegaXen
  • I do not agree that prisoners should vote in elections.

    Once a person commits a crime and is sent to jail they lose their rights. Once you are not interacting in society why should your vote decide the outcome of an election. Being a productive member in society means being able to vote and enjoy life's freedoms. I do feel that once you have completed your term and your probation you should be allowed to vote again, but if you go back to prison you start back at square one.

    Posted by: C0ImEIite
  • no

    I don’t think people that commit crimes should not be allowed to vote people who want to break the law should not have say what happens in the world. Banning prisoners from voting should be allowed because that should be part of their punishment showing them that it is not acceptable for committing the crime in the first place.

  • No vote for prisoners

    Prisoners have broken the law all rights should be withdrawn.prison should be a punishment not a holiday camp then we may find they would not be so keen to break the law again and go back to prison.why should they have an input into government when they Are not trusted in society which is why they are in prison in the first place

  • no

    If people in prison are still US citizens then they should be given the right to vote like any other citizen. It is a civil right and is most important for those who are not free; it is not a privileged someone earns, it is a right that comes with citizenship. All Americans need to have the right to vote in order for us to stay a free America. When we take the vote away from people because they did something we find harmful or immoral, we are silencing them. Silencing those who disagree with us is not freedom, it is tyranny.

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