Should prisoners around the world have the right to vote?

  • Prisoners Should be Able to Vote

    Prisoners are citizens too. They may have committed a felony, but they are still citizens of their home country. Some people think prisoners should not have the right to vote, but many others think they should. About two million people in U.S. are in prison. All those people do not get to cast a vote in the election. They are not able to decide who runs the country they live in. Imagine not being able to have a say in our country. We are a democracy, which means everyone has the right to vote in our government. Prisoners should be allowed to vote because they still are citizens and still have rights.
    Prisoners should be able to vote and influence the outcome of an election . If all the prisoners were allowed to vote it may have an impact on the election. Prisoners want the chance to vote. As of February 2011 the United States was in the lead of number of prisoners with 2,019,234. Prisoners do not have a say in the government. In New York people who are on parole cannot vote. As of 2004 thirty-five states forbid people who have just been released from prison to vote.
    In the constitution it states everyone is given the right to vote. Amendment 15 is the voting rights act. In the first section of this amendment, it states the right to vote cannot be taken away from people based on their color, race, or what has happened previously in their life. That amendment is not being applied to the rights of prisoners. Only two states, Vermont and Maine, let everyone vote without ever stripping away rights(Robin Coe, Prisoners Voting Rights In Vermont the voting laws are you have to be a citizen of the United States, a resident of Vermont, has taken voters oath, and 18 years or older to vote, this means that prisoners can vote there. In the second section it states that congress is supposed to enforce the first one. In 47 states prisoners cannot vote; in Maine an incarcerated person is allowed to vote. Congress has only protected this amendment in two states.
    We are a democracy. In a democracy everyone has a say in the government. The voting rules are different for prisoners in each state. In some states prisoners voting rights have to be restored. In South Dakota felons must serve their full term of incarceration, parole, or probation before they are allowed to register to vote. In Washington, felons have to wait to be off parole to be able to vote. In some states, prisoners cannot get their voting rights back once they have left prison if they have committed a very serious crime. In Alabama, most felons have to apply to get their voting rights back, but if the felon committed a very serious crime like a murder, or treason they cannot get their rights back. In Delaware no matter what crime a felon may have committed they have to wait five years before they can vote, but if they committed murder, manslaughter, or abuse they have their voting rights permanently taken away. In Mississippi, when felons commit murder, theft, arson, bribery, carjacking and more they are banned from voting , but they can go to their state representative and convince him/her why they should be able to vote. Taking away prisoners voting rights even after they have been released is unfair. Two million people are in prison. That’s a lot of people who cannot have a say, plus all the felons that have been released but are not able to vote. Those people cannot choose who runs their government.
    Prisoners should be able to vote because they are citizens and they do have an influence on who would be elected. Those 2 million people would make a difference. When the election comes up their voting could make a difference in who gets elected. We are a democracy. Everyone has a say in government. Just because they have committed a crime does not mean their voting rights should be taken away.

  • First define reason of detainment

    I think a counter discussion is "is the criminal system efficient?"

    Many would argue no it is not. Criminality can be due to lack of education, lack of state responsibility, lack of parental leadership, lack of so many things. I can also be simply bad luck depending on the case.

    By immediate entrance to the legal system the mistake is that you are no longer accepted in society by your peers, hence not allowed to vote? Its pretty cold to even assume your incareration is justified to begin with.

    Even in the case of a convicted mass murderer who for some reason has escaped capital punishment. If his opinion doesnt count, what threat does a statistical minority represent to the status quo anyway? why not accept the vote anyway?

    i would wager if the penal system becomes larger than the populace, you have a serious problem. which again points to revising the criminal system, not preventing them the ability to vote. considering so few americans vote to begin with, the issue at hand is not the important one.

    Posted by: Paz
  • There are certain inalienable rights that should never be removed

    The threshold for what is and what is not a crime is always changing, especially in countries like the UK where there is no written constitution and where every 5 years the new government changes laws in line with its ideology. You could be imprisoned for protesting against the government in the UK. Removing the right to vote from this sort of 'political prisoner' would bring us closer to the way totalitarian regimes operate.

  • Prisoners should be treated as citizens regardless of their status.

    Many nations treat prisoners as having the same citizenship status as those who are not in prison. This makes sense because if prisoners are not able to voice an opinion in their government or community, they have even less reason to be reintegrated after their sentence ends. By excluding them from the basic right of participating in governance, it adds further to an already significant disconnect with fellow citizens.

    Posted by: E Olson
  • Prison is about rehabilitation.

    They give you food and water there, why not voting rights? Prisoners are still human and should not be restricted of their humanitarian rights. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has estimated that at least 200,000 were excluded from taking part in the 2000 presidential election. Thats a lot of people that cannot voice their opinion.

  • I do feel that prisoners should have the right to vote.

    I feel that prisoners should have the right to vote. I do not see the reasoning behind revoking a person's voting rights because the government sees it necessary to incarcerate them for any number of reasons. They are still a citizen and should be able to decide who is elected into office just as anyone else would.

    Posted by: TickoCa22
  • Unless we admit to being hypocritical when we speak of "rehabilitating" prisoners, we must admit them back into the mainstream of acceptable social activities, including the right to vote.

    More than one out of every 30 Americans is either in prison or on probation.

    We must do something with "those people." We should perhaps also keep in mind that the illegal acts of "those people" range from mass murderers to college students caught with a little too much grass.

    Prisoner "management" can range from some third world nations, where prisoners are branded on the face, to some industrialized nations, where the families of law-breakers, victims of the crimes, and prisoners are brought together and means are found to bring the prisoners back into society in constructive and well-controlled ways.

    It seems unlikely that "universal" prisoner voting right can be granted until and unless we decide, as a world community, just how we view law-breakers.

    Suppose we decide that we want prisoners everywhere to have voting rights. How could we implement such a decision? Is this even logistically possible in America? Should we allow ALL prisoners to vote, or only non-violent crimes? But what about plea bargaining --violent crimes are plea bargained down to non-violent crimes.

    Yes, if we want prisoners to become productive citizens, they should have the right to vote. No, it is unlikely that this will happen.

    Posted by: CI3Iike
  • I believe every American should be able to vote, regardless if they are in prison.

    Prisoners are just Americans that made mistakes, no matter the offense. That is why they call prisons "correctional facilities". They should still have a voice, even if they do not have their freedom. One day, they will be out, and should be able to live just as free as the next man.

    Posted by: Elliot Maxwell
  • It would provide a countervailing force to mandatory sentencing and poor prison conditions.

    If there weren't abominations like mandatory minimum sentencing and prison rape, I would probably say no, but these conditions need to be addressed. I remember reading a study where a mock sentencing reform commission was created, with the hypothesis that a commission would pass lighter sentences than the public at large or the legislators beholden to them. It turned out that they were wrong. The commission actually passed worse sentences. There needs to be a counterweight to overkill in sentencing and the poor conditions prisoners enduring while serving them.

    Posted by: 54uIIan
  • Yes, prisoners do not give up their basic human rights just by committing a crime.

    Convicted criminals do not give up all of their basic human rights just by being convicted. Convicts are still entitled to food and shelter, etc. The right to vote is critical to what a democracy is all about and everyone should have the opportunity to participate. Just because you are a convict does not mean that you give up all of your rights to the state.

    Posted by: R43Shep
  • Prisoners should'nt vote

    I think convicted prisoners should not have a right to vote. They are locked away to prevent them from causing harm to society and if they were allowed to vote they could influence politics from behind bars and some politicians would try to catch more votes by appealing the inmates.

  • No, they lost that right.

    That is one right they lost when incarcerated. They lost the right to be part of that area of society. Now when they get out of jail, they should get that right back. It's wrong for felons to not be able to vote once they're back in society. Just because they were convicted and paid their dues, doesn't mean they should lose that right forever.

    Posted by: R34d3Homey
  • not yet to early

    They have broken the law, so they should not be able to until they come out of prison, and if they have been in there for a long time, they will not know anything about our voting system. And there are a lot more reasons why they should not vote.

  • No, but they should when they are released.

    I believe that right should not be taken away forever. Once they've served their time and they've completed their parole, that right should be restored. If they end up back in prison the right is taken away permanently. Just my opinion, but if a person is reformed in prison and is allowed to re-enter society they should have their rights returned. Maybe not the right to bear arms (depending on their crimes) but certainly the right to vote.

  • The people who break the law shouldn't have a say of who enforces them.

    This is because previous offenders, legitimate or not, shouldn't have a say in what happens in politics or law. This is because they have already damaged the community in one way or another, so their voices shouldn't be heard. However, these people are human beings. Also, the whole point in democracy is that it is fair and everybody has a vote, yet these humans aren't getting a voice or their voice heard. Therefore, to conclude, I believe that prisoners shouldn't usually be allowed to vote. However, there are people who have been in jail for a long time, and I believe that because they are human beings that people between 0-3 years of their sentence left should be allowed to vote.

  • Going against the law of the country

    Why should they be given the chance to vote? Why should they have a right to say what happens in the country especially when they couldn't give a monkey about the rules of this country? Prisoners have too many privileges as it is, we should never allow them to vote.

  • Loss Of Liberty

    So you've broken the law and been sent to prison. You have lost your liberty as a result. The criminal has been removed from society as the criminal can't obey the laws and function in society. Why should someone have a say in how society operates if they are not able to function in said society?

  • Why should prisoners vote for the people who enforce the law, when they break it themselves?

    When you commit a crime that results in a prison sentence, more than likely you have infringed on someone else's rights so no prisoners should not get the right the vote. Also, if prisoners could vote, they would be effectively be voting for the people that enforce the laws, that they themselves have broken.

  • NO!

    Prisoners should not be able to vote. End of story.
    Simply put, any government should reflect the whole of society, if society is producing criminals through social policy leading to I creased unemployment and poverty, then surely, in a democracy, the least amongst us who are caught up in the system should have the right to voice their opinions and cast a vote.

  • We must not keep on eroding our laws

    Yes we take someone's driving licence away from them if they build up enough points on their licence or drink and drive. I am fined for parking on double yellow lines or when my ticket runs out. I could say its my human right to park where I like and for as long as I want to, and without the worry of a fine or someone clamping my vehicle. Come on, we know the human rights for me will never come about, so why should it for prisoners.

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