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Prisoners voting

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  • View Poll Results: Should prisoners be allowed to vote?
    Yes
    93
    32.63%
    No
    192
    67.37%

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    Finally. Unfortunately the ruling doesn't go far enough and still allows the UK to block people who have committed certain offences from voting, but it's a start. It is undemocratic for the state to say that a certain section of the population can't vote, and that should be a concern for all of us, not just people who think prison shouldn't just be about punishment.
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    (Original post by ChapelTom)
    Very few people want prisoners to be allowed the vote.

    I am absolutely 100% against the war on drugs which is a waste of time, money and effort.
    And it places many people into jail for a completely victimless crime.
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    No, as they have broken the contract implicit in democratic government: you have your say in the creation of the law and in exchange you agree to abide by the results thereof.
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    If we don't allow prisinors to vote then we have to say that the right to vote isn't a fundamental right.
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    (Original post by Kennedy7697)
    They have done something wrong in our country, so why should they be allowed to vote about how it is controlled.
    I do sort of lean in this direction, but sometimes I think we'll look back on this and think it was the wrong thing to do. Im not sure is the simple answer
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    I'm for Europe, for human rights, left wing but this is just too far. If they want the right to vote they should have thought about that before they committed a crime. It's part of their punishment as well as imprisonment and it should stay that way.
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    What a mockery of human rights. The Court was set up to help avert serious violations of human rights. Human rights is beautifully worthy cause, but this isn't about human rights, this is about stupidity.
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    (Original post by ApresAlkan)
    I read it as an ad hominem, especially given the inflammatory language used:
    'Gang', 'lecture', 'utterly revolting', all in the first sentence.
    Certainly the language was inflammatory; but the logical structure was not ad hominem. The appropriateness of the language is irrelevant--yes, I insulted the judges, but I was making a claim about their character from which I inferred the inappropriateness of the judgement; I wasn't attacking my opponent whilst failing to argue against their view.

    (Original post by ApresAlkan)
    You make reference to the fact that Europe was backward in times when Britain was progressive (which is both in the past, and not entirely true), and that Hitler ruled much of Europe. You imply that because of these, Europeans cannot make judgement on the running of Britain. Why not? Especially as in this case, they are right.
    Because Britain has proven itself capable of guaranteeing its people's liberty to a greater degree than any other European state, still less the ECHR. Britain's institutions have protected our freedom for more than three centuries and done so remarkably well; the ECHR was drawn up sixty year ago and has not developed organicaly in the way our constitution has. We can therefore assume, albeit not without absolute certainty, that Britain's institutions are better at protecting liberty than the ECHR. Secondly, even were this not the case, it remains true that allowing foreign judges to make decisions about how Britain is to be run undermines completely Parliamentary sovereignity, a principle integral to our constitution, and hinders future organic change by forcing change on us from outside.
    (Original post by ApresAlkan)
    I'd argue unjustifiable. Let's break down what you've said...
    Admittedly, but rights are there to mitigate suffering and promote liberty... I don't suppose you'll argue against that?
    Of course not. I just don’t believe granting prisoners the vote is a could way to achieve those things.
    (Original post by ApresAlkan)
    So stupid people can't vote? That's horrible! I acknowledge that some people are easily manipulable, and don't know much about politics. However, they have a right for their views to be represented in Parliament. Even given that stupid people shouldn't vote, which they should, are prisoners 'as a rule' ignorant and irrational? What about journalists in gaol for libel? High-brow stockbrokers gaoled for fraud? These people make up a fair proportion of inmates...
    Firstly, that’s a monstrous straw man. I don’t favour excluding people of low intelligence from the franchise; I don’t believe intelligence is particularly important anyway. I do favour excluding people who have proven themselves to be incapable of making rational decisions and sound judgements about people’s character. Exercising the right to vote entails, or should entail, making a judgement about which person out of a group of several is most fit to represent your community’s interests in Parliament, and about what broad ideological character the next government should have to benefit the country most. Most people who are in prison are there either because they care little for the wellbeing of their community or the country, or because they cannot make good judgements about people’s character and appropriate behaviour. We can therefore presume them to be unfit to excercise the right to vote. I’ll admit some inmates do not fit this description; (I’d argue fraudulent stockbrokers fit it just as well as those incarcerated for petty violence) but they are a minority and give that we can’t assess each prisoner individually, excluding them from the franchise temporarily is, I think, a price worth paying for the exclusion of the first type of prisoner.
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    I don't think this is a yes or no question.

    What about the prisoners who are serving very short sentences, (i.e. a month or two), who just happen to be in prison when the vote takes place? It seems silly that they shouldn't be given the vote, considering the vote determines who will govern the country for years - most of which they will spend outside of prison (ideally).

    One other serious consideration must be the logistics of it all. Sometimes prisoners are imprisoned far away from their home, and hence far from where they'd ordinarily vote. In which ward would their vote be counted, and where would they actually cast their vote? Clearly you couldn't have a situation whereby a small ward is in close proximity to a large prison, whereby the population of the ward would include a majority of prisoners. If this were the case then I'd imagine you'd get lots of politicians pandering to the "desires" of the prisoners, and it would likely get a bit ridiculous.

    It seems an easy reaction to suggest that the prisoners have forfeited their right to vote by commiting a crime, but is that really in keeping with democracy?
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    Of course prisoners should be able to vote. Just because they've broken the law doesn't mean they automatically forfeit all of their rights - indeed, we overuse prison sentences by far - not to mention the safeguard it provides against abuse of political power in this way. I do, however, think that their vote should be for the constituency in which they lived before they went to prison, to avoid a populace which probably has a largely similar political viewpoint instantly affecting those constituencies with large prisons.
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    (Original post by Eightyeight)
    I think they should purely because they shouldn't lose their human rights simply for going to prison. They don't become less entitled to the rights even if they are incarcerated.
    With rights comes responsibility, and they forfeited their responsibility to abide by the law.
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    (Original post by JacobW)
    Certainly the language was inflammatory; but the logical structure was not ad hominem. The appropriateness of the language is irrelevant--yes, I insulted the judges, but I was making a claim about their character from which I inferred the inappropriateness of the judgement; I wasn't attacking my opponent whilst failing to argue against their view.
    Ad hominem applied more to the next part. But I don't have any problem with ECtHR officials?

    Because Britain has proven itself capable of guaranteeing its people's liberty to a greater degree than any other European state, still less the ECHR.
    Netherlands? Norway? Our insular nature is all that protected us from Hitler, and that almost failed. There was liberty under the Weimar government...

    Britain's institutions have protected our freedom for more than three centuries and done so remarkably well;
    Unless one isn't Caucasian, is homosexual, is an atheist, is poor, and so forth. Adimittedly those aren't problems now--the Deputy Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition are atheists, forth place in the mayoral elections went to a homosexual and so forth--but those were problems once, in those three centuries, and Britain held on a little too long.

    the ECHR was drawn up sixty year ago and has not developed organicaly in the way our constitution has. We can therefore assume, albeit not without absolute certainty, that Britain's institutions are better at protecting liberty than the ECHR.
    I would sooner trust a brick wall--built at once on what is known, than a hedge--grows organically.

    Secondly, even were this not the case, it remains true that allowing foreign judges to make decisions about how Britain is to be run undermines completely Parliamentary sovereignity, a principle integral to our constitution, and hinders future organic change by forcing change on us from outside.
    But the change is for the better...

    Firstly, that’s a monstrous straw man. I don’t favour excluding people of low intelligence from the franchise; I don’t believe intelligence is particularly important anyway.
    I was attacking that part as well as the whole: you stated that prisoners were 'as a rule, ignorant'. That's why I said that.

    I do favour excluding people who have proven themselves to be incapable of making rational decisions and sound judgements about people’s character.
    Why? Aren't they citizens?
    Exercising the right to vote entails, or should entail, making a judgement about which person out of a group of several is most fit to represent your community’s interests in Parliament, and about what broad ideological character the next government should have to benefit the country most. Most people who are in prison are there either because they care little for the wellbeing of their community or the country, or because they cannot make good judgements about people’s character and appropriate behaviour. We can therefore presume them to be unfit to excercise the right to vote. I’ll admit some inmates do not fit this description; (I’d argue fraudulent stockbrokers fit it just as well as those incarcerated for petty violence) but they are a minority and give that we can’t assess each prisoner individually, excluding them from the franchise temporarily is, I think, a price worth paying for the exclusion of the first type of prisoner.
    I completely disagree. I think we'll have to leave it at that... It's been an interesting discussion, comrade.
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    It disgusts me utterly. Cameron, stand up to Brussels for once.
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    (Original post by jamiek)
    I do sort of lean in this direction, but sometimes I think we'll look back on this and think it was the wrong thing to do. Im not sure is the simple answer
    Yeah i sort of agree with you but there is definitely no simple answer;i was just making a point.
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    Personally I think that if the government puts you in jail, and then doesn't allow you to vote to remove them, then it's not really democracy.
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    (Original post by ras90)
    You have more free speech in China tthan the UK now.
    yeah right.... I just critisized every single political party in a politics lesson. Oh, wait in China you only have one party, and you are not allowed to critisize it, forgot about that.
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    (Original post by ChapelTom)
    The answer is NO. We should just ignore Europe for once, no-one in Britain wants to give prisoners the vote, so why should we have some unelected European bureaucrats tell us we should?
    That's a rather bold statement...

    I personally see no reason why prisoners (certainly those who will be released in the period of the relevant Parliament anyway) shouldn't be allowed to vote. Doesn't strike me as very democratic.

    It's also slightly amusing that people are criticising the EU for defending democracy - an institution many of those same people do nothing but moan about how anti-democratic it is. (Amusing from both sides of the argument as they're both being hypocritical).
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    (Original post by patrickinator)
    yeah right.... I just critisized every single political party in a politics lesson. Oh, wait in China you only have one party, and you are not allowed to critisize it, forgot about that.
    The number of parties does not matter.

    You dont need more than 1 party.
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    (Original post by Muscovite)
    She has a point. If you had a neutral or centrist position rather than with a specific anti-EU party then I'd take what you said and consider it more - your user name instantly tells me you'l be biased and that there's no point debating it. It just becomes a thread for little-Englanders to congregate rather than for people to actually debate.
    And as for my views - I dislike overpaid Eurocrats too to some extent but I think prisoners should definitely get the vote
    Ironic from the guy with the EU flag
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    (Original post by Scoobiedoobiedo)
    Ironic from the guy with the EU flag
    No, not really - it would be ironic if I had a pro-EU flag or something if one existed; it simply states that I live in Europe; which I do.

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