Government To Decide If Prisoners Get The Vote

The UK will be able to decide whether to allow prisoners the vote, following a judgment from the European Court of Human Rights.

The international court ruled today that it is up to individual governments how they implement a ban on convicted prisoners voting.

It decided that "general, automatic and indiscriminate disenfranchisement" denied prisoners their human rights, and specifically mentioned that the "nature or gravity" of their offences was not currently taken into account.

The ruling came after a landmark case taken by an Italian man convicted for killing his wife and wounding one of his sons, who argued that he had been denied his right to vote.

He lost his case as the court decided the Italian government was able to withdraw that right from some prisoners.

The UK government made third-party submissions, arguing that governments should be allowed to decide which prisoners lost voting rights, and that judges should be able to order it as an additional punishment when sentencing individuals.

The court agreed with these proposals.

The decision comes seven years after the court first ordered the UK to rethink its current ban on votes for prisoners.

The government now has six months to decide how to reform the system.

In Italy only prisoners sentenced to three years' imprisonment or more, or convicted of certain offences against the state, lose the right to vote.


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