Should prisoners have the vote?

“No one should be in any doubt. Prisoners are not getting the vote under this government.” PM David Cameron stated to the House of Commons on Wednesday.

And is this fair?

Once a person commits a crime they have arguably made a choice. Should that choice include being stripped of basic rights? It is the law that every person in Britain is entitled to freedom of speech and it can be argued that the vote is apart of that freedom. If Cameron stands by his statement, there is a chance that Britain could be kicked out of the Council of Europe as it is going against the view of the European court of Human Rights (ECHR) – that prisoners should be allowed to vote. The ECHR argues that if not given the vote, prisoners are having a basic human right taken away from them. Liberal Democrat ministers are supporting the ECHR, however it is unlikely that they will push for anything that could affect their already damaged support.

Prehaps the question should be: Should ALL prisoners have their vote taken away from them? If a person has nearly served their time, maybe they should have a say in what kind of world they are walking back in to. Also, according to a study reported in The Guardian, 8,500 former servicemen are currently serving time in prison (almost 10% of the prison population). If somebody has fought for their country, shouldn’t they have a say in who runs it? Maybe it would be fair to have different rules for different crimes. Surely, a person that steals an Iphone should be treated differently to a person that steals a life?

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