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Evaluate The Arguments For And Against Prisoners In The Uk Being Allowed To Vote

1093 words - 5 pages

United Kingdom is one of the countries of European Union which bans voting among convicted prisoners (Black, Dhami, and Easter 2012, 44). According to ICPS (2013), total population of prisoners in UK,including Scotland and Northern Ireland equals to 94,136. Allowing inmates to take a part in elections became a serious political issue aftr the decision of European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the "Hirst vs UK" case, which ruled that the rights of convicted were violated by total prohibition on voting in the elections undr the ECHR. However, parliament of the country has different views - most of th goverment's representatives do not agree with court's ruling. There are still a lot of ...view middle of the document...

Some people hold opinion that enfranchisement may awaken civic feelings of inmates and that it could be serious part of their rehabilitation and making them not to re-offend their crimes. It may become easier for convicts to return back to normal life after realising from jail if they stay in touch with such democratic and civic process as, for instance, choosing leader of the nation. Blais, Massicotte and Yoshinaka (2001) express this idea best: "..penal regime is ultimately aimed at rehabiliation rather than punishment, and that preserving the voting rights of inmates facilitates their social reintegration". Disfranchisement, instead, can destroy inmates' self-esteem and a sense of duty to the country. However, enfranchisement is not enough for them to re-offend, because there is a big question whether prisoners mostly do not really care about political situation in the country or not. Also it could be understandable that loss of voice(as a freedom) sometimes can demonstrate prisoners the price paid because of their break of the social contract much more than provision of voice.

Historically, the main reasonwhy prison inmates are disqualified from participating in election in the Great Britain is mostly in a common assumption that the base of domestic society is a sober contract, obligating everyone to follow the law. According to Plannic (1987 quoted in Blais, Massicotte, Yoshinaka 2001) "only citizens have the right to vote, and it would not be reasonable to consider criminals as citizens". Thus, people who break it forfeit all the rights of citizens (Blais, Massicotte, Yoshinaka 2001, 56). Imprisoning means ablation of all civic rights such as restriction in communications, profession, equality among members of society, showin the will and so on, while basic human rights are retained, like right to live and to eat (Ramsay 2013). By other words prisoners have a "civic death" as a result of their illeagl actions. It is pretty good, and the reason of it is that criminals should understand that breaking the social contract is big mistake and the only way it could be fixed is using punishment is using punishment in form of total disfranchisement.

Deprivation the right to vote could also act as an effective restrictive way for...

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