22/05/2012

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.

(NE)

Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

04 April 2005
Campaign to give vote to prisoners launched
A campaign to give sentenced prisoners the right to vote in the forthcoming general election has been launched. A coalition, which includes senior cross party politicians, church leaders, ex-offenders, human rights groups and prisoner reformers, wants a review of the 135-year-old law, which prevents offenders from voting.
25 April 2006
Foreign prisoners escape deportation
More than 1,000 foreign prisoners have been released in the UK instead of being deported, Home Office figures have shown. The number includes three murderers and nine rapists, as well as five people convicted of committing sex offences on children, seven convicted for other sex offences, 57 for violent offences and two for manslaughter.
02 November 2010
Prisoners May Get Right To Vote
Thousands of UK prisoners may get the right to vote after the Government conceded defeat in a long-running battle with the European Court of Human Rights over the issue. According to reports, the Government has reluctantly accepted the European court's ruling that the current ban, which has been in place in the UK for 140 years, is unlawful.
18 December 2013
Committee Recommends 'Some' Prisoners Get Right To Vote
A committee of cross-party MPs and peers have made a recommendation that some prisoners should be given the right to vote. It has been recommended that inmates serving jail terms of one year or less and those preparing to be released should be granted the right to vote.
30 April 2013
Prisoners' Privileges Shake-Up Announced
The Ministry of Justice has announced a major shake-up to the rights of prisoners to receive privileges, to be introduced before the end of the year. Under the new rules, prisoners in England and Wales will have to "work towards their own rehabilitation and help others" in order to earn privileges.