Should length of sentence be considered?

This is a very interesting discussion which I find has many complex considerations. On one hand, I do agree with suggestions that voting is a human right. Democracy is defined as a system of government which includes a whole population; a representation of a whole society from every social class and background. Therefore, I believe prisoners should be included in this process. However, I'm unsure whether I agree that this should still apply to prisoners serving life sentences. Why should prisoners serving life sentences be entitled to have a say in the way society is run when they have robbed others of their lives?

I suppose my idea is that the length of the sentence should determine whether or not they should be able to vote. At an Assembly election in 2021, prisoners who are due to be released within that next 5 year term should be able to participate in that election as they will soon again be citizens of that society, and the decisions taken will affect them. Eligibility to vote will therefore be recalculated for every election. Prisoners serving life sentences will then never be eligible to vote.


Why the contribution is important

I believe it's important that prisoners are given the right to vote, and that prison should not only serve as a punishment, but a rehabilitation centre in which to prepare its prisoners to re-engage in society after their release. After all, failings in government and its systems and the lack of provisions for vulnerable people most likely to commit crimes might be the reason that many prisoners are locked up in the first place. By not giving prisoners the chance to have their say in the way society is run, and be expecting them to be released back into the same society which might have failed them in the first place, we are contributing further to the vicious circle of crime and imprisonment. 

by mrwilliams on November 19, 2018 at 08:12PM

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  • Posted by JohnCharles November 19, 2018 at 21:29

    Imprisonment is a result of a break of law. Why should the length of the sentence have any bearing on whether they have the right to vote? They can vote once they are released (whenever that may be) and are active members of society.
  • Posted by mrwilliams November 19, 2018 at 22:25

    Everyone over 18 (currently) is eligible to vote. Eligibility isn't calculated based on whether or not you have current or previous criminal conviction. You simply have to be a citizen. Why shouldn't this extend to citizens who are serving sentences - especially ones who will soon be released back into that society?
  • Posted by mikelees November 26, 2018 at 14:54

    In my opinion, the Length of sentence and crime committed are both irrelevant.
    Some people in prison although convicted of a crime may be innocent.
  • Posted by SeneddRhysJ November 27, 2018 at 11:13

    Thanks for sharing you view @mrwilliams - if prisoners were given the right to vote, do you have a view on what method should be used? For example, whether they should be entitled to vote using a postal vote, electronically, mobile booths in prison etc.)?

  • Posted by mikelees November 28, 2018 at 23:49

    When in prison the prisoners are still expected to conform to societies norms and contribute to that society.
     I fail to see what the benefits is to the prisoner or society if they are not allowed to vote.
  • Posted by siang November 29, 2018 at 15:38

    I think it should be taken into account (if possible) when a prisoner is due to be released eg. if they are meant to be released during the parliament being decided then they should be allowed to vote as the outcome will impact them more when they are out of prison
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