12 years ago, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that it was unlawful to enforce a blanket ban on prisoner voting rights.
Now it seems the government is closer than ever to reversing the one-fits-all policy.
According to The Sunday Times, the government is planning to update its policy on prisoner voting rights. The change would only apply to prisoners serving a sentence of less than a year who have day release privileges.
A senior government source told the paper: “This will only apply to a small number of people who remain on the electoral roll and are let out on day release. These are not murderers and rapists but prisoners who are serving less than a year who remain on the electoral roll. No one will be allowed to register to vote if they are still behind bars.”
The topic of prisoner voting rights sparked debate on this morning’s segment of Good Morning Britain with 85 per cent of people voting against the idea in a Twitter poll.
Several left damning comments on the suggestion were posted below the poll. The general consensus being that when a person commits a crime they lose the right to participate in society’s norms and practices.
One person wrote: “They already get it good inside. Break the law, you should lose your rights. Prison should be a punishment.”
While another said: “They should have no rights at all if in prison. They’re not there for a holiday. All rights should be removed!”
Others were only in favour of prisoner voting rights for certain crimes.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice has responded t the rumours. She said: “Our policy on prisoner voting is well established: it remains a matter for the UK to determine, and offenders in prison cannot vote.”
However this doesn’t address the possibility of prisoners who are on day release being able to vote.
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Britain is the only western European country with a blanket ban on prisoner voting with only Armenia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary and Russia in the Council of Europe imposing similar restrictions.
It has long been a topic of debate. In 2011 MPs voted 234 to 22 in favour of Parliament deciding on the issue.
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