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Thread: Give prisoners the vote?!

  1. #11
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    I heard an interesting suggestion a couple of days back: have a constituency just for prisoners. There are plenty of MPs that are in prison, or have been, so that takes care of finding an elected representative (they might need to be let out every so often to vote).

    How many prisoners would actually bother to vote, though?

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aley75 View Post
    How many prisoners would actually bother to vote, though?
    Probably quite a few if an candidate was on their side...
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  3. #13
    Senior Member Coraz0ndeOro's Avatar
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    Just out of curiosity, how are the laws there about people voting once they get out of prison? The more I think about it the more ridiculous I think it is that convicted felons are still kept from voting once they get out where I live. To me, keeping them from voting, allowing employers not to hire people with a criminal record, etc. just keeps convicted felons from feeling like part of society and makes them more prone to going back to crime. What motivation does a person really have to obey the laws of a system that excludes them?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coraz0ndeOro View Post
    Just out of curiosity, how are the laws there about people voting once they get out of prison? The more I think about it the more ridiculous I think it is that convicted felons are still kept from voting once they get out where I live.
    As I understand it, in the UK the only restriction is on convicted criminals whilst they are actually serving time in prison. Once they are out they can vote again (assuming they can get a stable address to register at). At the moment there are big arguments going on for and against that this restriction should be lifted.

    Personally I think there is an argument that for any conviction (not just ones that send you to prison), there should be a period during which you have to prove you are able obey laws before you get voting rights back, but this period should equally be proportional to the severity of the crime (so perhaps one month for a minor littering offence, but 30 years or more for murder).

    A bigger problem is the tendency to restrict jobs from those with convictions. On the one hand, does a bank say want to employ someone with a conviction for theft, but if it was 20 or 30 years ago, and the individual has behaved since, it probably should be ignored. If you make it too difficult to get a legitimate job once an individual has a conviction, there will as you say be no incentive to move away from crime. Getting the balance right is tricky, and I don't think either the USA or the UK has now (arguably UK was better at it until the recent introduction of CRB checks, as the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act gave people a second chance after a suitable time period).

  5. #15
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    hm tough subject. i vote no for now. i'm in the US btw.

  6. #16

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    yeah i think they should

  7. #17

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    I don't think they should have the vote. They've opted themselves out of society by committing a crime.

    Also, they're unlikely to vote for the government who was in charge when they were jailed perhaps. And how would parties appeal to the prisoner vote? "Vote for me and murder will be legal"?

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    There's a really good article -- I would link to it if I had a higher post count -- that discusses BastÝy Prison, the "first ecological prison in the world". It is basically an island manned by five guards and a prison population that is completely self-sustaining. The prison has a canteen that serves one meal a day, and prisoners prepare their own meals in the bungalows that they stay in. There is a head count on the morning, noon and night so that they know nobody has fled, but generally they're treat as human beings and not things. You might be really surprised to know that the reoffending rate of prisoners leaving this island is the lowest in the whole of Europe: 16%.

    My point is that, yes we can treat people as crap because they've committed a serious crime however if we really want to improve anything and move beyond this 18th century styled justice system then we've really got to start teaching these people what it means to be a human, not what it means to be a prisoner; they've had enough of this throughout their lives so far anyway.

  9. #19
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    That prison sounds nice, they even have a library, a beach and football fields there, something some of us don't have near us in this country....wouldn't mind going there one day

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  10. #20
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    I think mostly it should be a yes, but agree it should be based on the severity of the crime. Murderers and rapists for example, I honestly think should just be locked in a bare concrete cell to rot, with no rights whatsoever.

    Then there are other people serving long sentences where they will get out eventually, maybe (for examples sake) someone committed tax fraud. They didn't physically hurt anyone and quite possibly could fully reform and see the error of their ways. I think they should have the chance to vote towards the country they will be released into again.

    I know there are many (I deem to be) innocent people serving time for the cultivation of cannabis, purely done for self medication. I definitely think they deserve the right to put their vote towards any party that's moving towards decriminalisation, or at least making it okay for medicinal purposes.
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