11 February 2011

The wrong end of the telescope

All this fuss about prisoners being allowed to vote. Would it really be the end of the world?

In any case, the debate is framed as giving prisoners the right to vote (or restoring a long lost human right, if you prefer). For me, it is a question of whether imprisonment should carry with it the deprivation of the right to vote. Just because a prisoner is deprived of certain abilities, notably in terms of physical seclusion from society, it does not usually mean the loss of all human rights. Thus most authorities accept that prisoners should be clothed, fed and watered, that they should have some opportunity for physical exercise and that they should not be tortured or subjected to excessively degrading behaviour. I fail to see any obvious reason why they should not retain the right to vote.

If that means that I am of a wishy-washy pinko bleeding-heart liberal disposition, then so be it.


Anonymous said...

The days when you could use liberal and pinko in the sane phrase are long gone since Mr Clegg's revolution

Elizabeth Fry said...

It is really pathetic. If rehabilitation has any part to play in prison sentences then of course prisoners should have the right to vote. In fact I would go further and make it compulsory for them to vote and be forced to read all the party manifestos. What greater punishement than that. It is typical knee jerk reaction from our politicians. And it is also interesting thatjust about half the MPs bothered to turn up to vote in any event.