BBC BLOGS - Have Your Say
« Previous | Main | Next »

Should convicted prisoners get the vote?

01:51 UK time, Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Thousands of convicted UK prisoners are to get the right to vote after the European Court of Human Rights (EHCR) ruled that the present ban was unlawful. Should all prisoners be allowed to vote?

The BBC understands the government has exhausted all legal avenues fighting the decision and has reluctantly accepted there is no way of upholding the 140-year-old ban.

Prisoners awaiting trial, fine defaulters and those jailed for contempt of court are already permitted to vote but more than 70,000 convicted prisoners currently in UK jails are prevented.

Have you ever been banned from voting? Is voting a human right? Should all prisoners regardless of crime be allowed to vote? Should there ever be restrictions on voting rights?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments


Page 1 of 13

  • Comment number 1.

    Personnaly I think all prisoners should lose all their human rights when convicted. So, they should not have the vote. A Human right is a priviledge not a God given right. First, you have to act like a human being before you get the right!

  • Comment number 2.

    Currently they get TV in their open door sell, a gym, jump the waiting lists at Local Hospitals, have a menu to choose their food for the following week, get half their sentence knocked off and then thats cut down by the Prison authorities, so why not give them the vote, they may want other benefits so they should have time out to lobby the MPs, and those Mps who may find themselves serving along side them for robbing the taxpayers will point them in the right direction im sure

  • Comment number 3.

    It appears that the judges of Europe are even more ridiculously liberal than our own home grown softies, something I had thought quite impossible until tonight.

  • Comment number 4.

    Wow - now we can have a political party which caters for prisoners in jail.

    Seriously - it's going to be complicated to administer. Do prisoners vote for their candidate in their home borough or the borough where they have been jailed?

    It's about time we come out of Europe.

  • Comment number 5.

    Good grief whatever next? Why don't we give them the keys to the cells and self regulation and be done with it.

  • Comment number 6.

    No, particularly violent or repeat offenders. Why should prisoners continue to have the same rights as law abiding citizens? They already have more than I would like them to have, and usually more rights than their victims.

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    Once convicted of a crime, a prisoner should lose all their rights. Upon completion of their sentence and return to functioning society then the right to vote is returned.
    The EU is yet again interfering in the domestic policies of the UK, it would better if the EU went and carried out an audit of their accounts!!!!!

  • Comment number 9.

    In general, people are in prison for infringing someone elses' human rights by breaking the laws that the are designed to protect those selfsame rights - it seems perfectly sensible that until they learn not to step on other people, they should have their human rights limited until they know better. Look on prison as a way of learning the rules of society that the rest of us live by - and one of those limitations should be the loss of the right of active participation in democracy until they are deemed rehabilitated and fit to rejoin the rest of us once more.
    This is just another example of the Legal Profession drumming up a new market by furthering the trend of rights without the concomitant responsibility to exercise them in ways that cause no harm to others.

  • Comment number 10.

    Prison is a punishment that deprives us of what we usually think of as our human rights, that is its nature. If they have to have a vote then that lessens that punishment and it should be compensated for in other ways. If a prisoner wants to retain some of those rights - such as having a vote - then there needs to be a trade off with longer sentences. How about having a vote of all inmates to see if they were willing to stay in prison longer so that they can vote. I have a sneaky feeling that suddenly this desire to vote would vanish like the morning mist - or common sense in the EHCR.

  • Comment number 11.

    What can I say.... Time to re-negotiate our relationship with Europe. Time to re-look at the Human Rights Act. This article will become the most read and most shared today, why? because most people can see the insanity of the ruling. Time that common sense made a reappearance within our lives.

  • Comment number 12.

    I agree with Runcle, in that those who have been incarcerated as a result of a contravention against some unacceptable activity should lose their normal rights. Certainly the right to vote is one they should lose, until they are released. The purpose of incarceration is to pronounce punishment. Goal is not supposed to be a 'holiday camp' but it seems that the social engineers of the left are making such so.

    The other interesting issue is the question of the EU assuming their prerogative to issue these type if edicts. My view is that the UK ought to get out of the EU as soon as is possible. The UK must retain itself as a Sovereign nation. The EU should have no right to intervene in the social customs of any nation.

  • Comment number 13.

    The European Court of Human Rights is yet another laughably incompetent institution of the EU. It currently has a case backlog of 46 years! This must put incredible stress on its judgements, leading to ill-considered interpretations of "justice". When will we realise that the EU is fundamentally flawed and incapable of effective administration in its hugely enlarged format? The institutions were devised to cope with at most a dozen member states, on the assumption that they were all wealthy. There is no way the current monstrosity of an EU can be anything other than a corrupt, anti-democratic monolith. Its institutions need redesign from the bottom up, including the ECHR. And, until they are democratically accountable directly to all citizens of the member states, not just to their governments, we should ignore their decisions.

  • Comment number 14.

    I think that the world has just gone mad!

    This is PC gone far too far and to give convicted felons the vote is akin to rewarding them for their service to the community!

    Once convicted, a prisoner should lose absolutely everything until such times as they are released, with going to prison being made such an extremely unpleasant experience that they would not want to contemplate the possibility of a return.

  • Comment number 15.

    Now the inmates REALLY have taken over the asylum...........

  • Comment number 16.

    It will be interesting to see in a year or two just how many convicted criminals actually bother to exercise this new right they've been granted: somehow, I doubt it will be many: the average criminal is not exactly noted for their political acumen, and they've already, by definition, shown their lack of interest in participating in a democratic and just society.

  • Comment number 17.

    If the idea of democracy is that everyone’s vote counts why do I want violent thugs, murderers, rapists, et al having a say in how the country is run?

  • Comment number 18.

    Im an ex prisoner and no i dont think prisoners should be allowed to vote your sent to prison as a punishment so should loose all rights including the right to vote

  • Comment number 19.

    Like hell they should get the right to vote, as pointed out by Runckle, human rights is a priviledge, not a god given right! They made the choice to not act like human beings, so why on earth should they be treated like ones. Besides, when they leave after they have not finished there allocated sentence, they get the chance to vote again anyway, what more do they want!

  • Comment number 20.

    Why do the people who are supposed to represent the people constantly make decisions that the majority find insane?

  • Comment number 21.

    Voting is not a human right; it is the privilege of members of a democratic society. Convicted prisoners have chosen to break one or more of that society’s laws, so the loss of the privilege to elect the law makers for the duration of their punishment seems just and appropriate.

  • Comment number 22.

    It seems that we are no longer a "Free" nation with our own democratically elected politicians able to pass/enforce laws which are desired by the majority of the population...I think Cameron should actually stand up for Great Britain and ignore this ruling--Damn the consequences!!!

  • Comment number 23.

    Please tell me this is an April Fools joke....please.

    European Court of Human Rights - whose rights?

    The guy who steals my car, commits benefits fraud for thousands or abuses children is ENTITLED to vote. I can't help but rant about this. The country, the government and the apathy of the general public is incredible.

  • Comment number 24.

    human rights (more like the illusion of it) vs. common sense

    Is it spacecake, or some other legalised recreational substance that deprived the European law makers a normal mentality? I say the working place of ECHR needs to be shifted to a "normal" neighbourhood where the presence of outlaws is palpable & reality awakening.

  • Comment number 25.

    Damn, a working life is a bit hard, so I'll go and burgle 240 houses, that should get me free board & lodging for oooh, 2 years? YESSSSS, I get colour TV, everything laid on AND I even get my voting card!

    YESSS, what all thanks to those suckers in Brussels - getting those mugs who go to work to pay for it!! Woo Hoo! Way to go man!

    (Removes tongue from cheek)

    Tell me, who is the sucker here?!

  • Comment number 26.

    When the EU try telling the French what to do, the French tell them to get lost and mind their own business and spit at the EU rules. When it happens to us we just suck it up and take it.

    If Cameron has any balls he will ignore this ruling and use it as evidence of the failure of the human rights act, to either get the EU laws changed or risk losing the UK from the EU. He doesn't seem to realise what a strong player in the EU we are, and he seems to content to fold everytime with pocket aces.

    We need a leader who puts national interest above all other considerations, and that includes the EU.

  • Comment number 27.

    It will be complicated to administer - do they vote for the MP's in the area their prison is in, or the ones at their last home address?
    But, other than that, prisoners are citizens of this country, some laws passed will also affect them, so no reason why they shouldn't vote, or at least have the right to.

  • Comment number 28.

    If member countries of the EU are allowed to decides to vote, then why not just give the vote to those on life sentence only? This should then insure that they cannot benefit from their ill gotten gains.

  • Comment number 29.

    Prisoners are prisoners because they broke the law. So why does the law allow them to sue me, the taxpayer, if they are denied the right to vote? Prisoners should NOT have the right to vote. In fact, as far as I am concerned, thay should have few, if any, rights, while in jail And the thought that they could use EU law to sue ME for compensation makes my blood boil.

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 31.

    I agree with Runckle. Also this is another example of the British people and their democratically elected representatives, having their will usurped by Europe. We have lost control of our legal system to Brussels as well as our borders and legislation, it is sad to see our nation controlled from abroad.

  • Comment number 32.

    ... please don't tell me this also means they will also now have to be released "on parole" to vist a polling station?

    The government has exhausted all legal avenues fighting the decision - except one: leave the EU and tell them to stick their financial incompetencies and meddling interference where le soleil don't shine!

    From "human rights" through the working time directive down to the loss of border controls and legislating for straighter bananas their pernicious unravelling of our values, our sense of justice and our way of life steamrollers relentlessly along.

    Enough already! Leave the EU now!!

  • Comment number 33.

    OK - if rights are coupled with responsibilities - then Prisoners should have to pay Council Tax and a more reasonable sum for their hospitality whilst in Prison. They should have to pay for a TV licence for their TV's in their hotel room (sorry Prison Cell) and other costs that we, honest folk, have to meet in our daily lives.

    Lets make Crime NOT pay - if criminals want rights then they must have responsibilities thrust upon them.

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.

    Once again our sovereign laws are being overturned by some faceless unelected bureaucrats in the EU backed up by the EHCR (another bunch of hand wringing fill your boots liberals)

    People in prison are there because they have chose not to be a responsible member of society and obey the laws of this land so in my mind they should lose all of the privileges associated with being a responsible law abiding member of society and that includes the right to vote.

    DC, you told us that you would not change our laws or transfer any more power away from Westminster without consulting the public (or was this just yet another lie), Try listening to public opinion for once.

    Oh Yes DC You really do need to step up to the front on this one and tell all those Eurocrats and the EHCR that this is one time when they can go and stuff their legislation where the sun does not shine and we ARE NOT going to change our laws because of some overpaid solicitor’s sitting in Brussels reading Cheri Blair’s book on how to fleece the public purse using the Human rights act say so.

    It’s about time we withdraw from this Human rights act farce, all it does is make fat cat judges and solicitors richer and puts the rights of the scum of the earth before the law abiding people of this country.

  • Comment number 36.

    well it ranks up there with some of their most ludicrous decisions. It's a human right to be free - are they going to rule on that point next? Prisoners infringe others' human rights and are thereby not entitled to their own. We do not mistreat our prisoners because WE are human but they should have no say in how our lives are run. It will certainly make election manifestos interesting reading now that the politicians will be looking to win the votes of convicts! We appear to be the only EU member to apply european rules to the nth degree. We should ignore them and get on with ruling ourselves. If they don't like it we should get out.

  • Comment number 37.

    Sure they should get the vote. Since successive governments will influence the policies that could effect their human rights while serving time for their crimes against society.

    Notice that I am joking here.

  • Comment number 38.

    Of course they should not get to vote. Are there to be no sanctions for committing crimes? Are they all to get free iPads next?

  • Comment number 39.

    Human rights are simply intrinsic to our humanity and therefore apply to everyone. People most in danger of losing their human rights are those subject to conditions where authority is most likely to be abused and that includes prisons. Almost all prisoners will be released sooner or later and, if they are to be expected to treat society with respect, they must feel a part of that society. Voting in prison will be a clear demonstration to prisoners that they have not been forgotten by society and that they have a stake in it. This is a long overdue reform.

  • Comment number 40.

    When will any of the UK governments govern for the benifit of the UK , WE did not vote to be in Eu why should we allow them to rule our country , this is outrageous ,PC and the human rights act should be thrown out , we are abused from every corner and our Judges all quote the Human rights act or the EU law , it wont be long before Sharia law raises it ugly head and some Judge in Europe says its ok . time to stop the rot ...but hang on all our ELECTED mps and ministers are so busy looking after their own jobs they dont give a damn about this country .I feel sick .

  • Comment number 41.

    I am 100% British. I served for 27 years in the British army. My pension is taxed in the UK at source. However, because I worked abroad after leaving the army and then retired to France, I DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE. It is ludicrous to give the vote to convicted felons while denying it to expats like me.

  • Comment number 42.

    Yes !!! if two people commit the same crime and one gets banged up and the other gets community service one presently looses their voter and the other does not depending on the judge or magistrate Crazy...

    If someone gets banged up for not paying their council tax looses their vote and on the same day a serious criminal is released One as the right to vote and the other does not .!!

    Lets get real shall we

  • Comment number 43.

    The British voters have only ever agreed to a trading partnership with the EU yet daily we hear of their rulings over riding our elected parliaments.
    What value does our democracy now have?

  • Comment number 44.

    No, no, a thousand times no.

  • Comment number 45.

    Democracy is a perfect system for a perfect people. That idea of perfection requires a perfect attitude to others and a full understanding between right and wrong. It also requires a mind that is able to understand any complexity if given the time to pursue an avenue of knowledge. It does not assume equal knowledge of physical sciences or technology.
    At the moment people are not equal in this manner (in democracy there is a fundamental assumption of equality, as mad as that presently is...!), and those minds that have led the individual against high values (that the state assumes it correctly defines) and have landed themselves correctly (most likely at the moment) in prison, should not be given the same power to decide government as those who are truly civilized. This can be a difficult analysis to make as the governmnet may have come to a faulty understanding about right and wrong. We can merely come to the conclusion about probable rectitude, giving the vote to banged-up criminals is not in the right direction as the probability of error is higher for those in jail versus those outside. Those in jail are more likely to have attitudinal faults, thus should be barred from effecting a change in government.
    The judgment of equal voting rights for prisoners has been made on the assumption that there are no absolute values of right and wrong, and that democracy should proceed on the basis that the majority make right, rather than any need for human minds to attempt to define it. There is also this fundamental error in the belief in equality NOW.
    However, since the ideal of democracy is so high, it is one of those high values that governments should seek to follow, but take due regard as to the individual being properly able to assume this high and noble mantle of "EQUALITY".
    It is the failure of people and states to establish those values - or laws - that define right and wrong.

    Mankind has an advanced mind wrt animals. and should utilize it more to make correct judgment on animal pleasures that lead us from taking the correct path in life.

  • Comment number 46.

    Those who start waffling on about "criminals" etc would do well to remember that around a third of men in U.K have a conviction ?

    We're talking about PRISONERS, not those with a criminal record. If ONE THIRD of men have a criminal conviction, that is a disgrace. No wonder Britain is becoming third-rate.

    Society MAKES RULES for the GREATER GOOD. Peolpe who break the rules clearly DO NOT UNDERSTAND AND/OR AGREE with the "greater good". It is self-evident that they therefore give up the right to join in the process of MAKING ANY RULES, i.e. voting.

    The EU "rule" is another crackpot, PC nail in the coffin of the wasteful, venal, corrupt EU.

  • Comment number 47.

    Yet another stupid law brought into being as a result of the ECHR. All of the absurdities of the Human Rights legislation result from the simple fact that it only looks at half of the equation. It defines all the rights (many of which are very questionable) without defining the responsibilities that go with them. Those prisoners convicted of serious crimes are perfect examples of people who have no respect, and feel no responsibility, for other peoples rights and so should loose their own rights as part of their punishment. Judgements like this constantly encourage the idea that the only person with rights is the criminal, what of the right of the victims to see justice done and to see the criminal punished.

    We should remove the ECHR from our law and return to the old fashioned way of making our own laws in Parliament, rather than outsourcing the job to people who dont even live here.

  • Comment number 48.

    NO, deinitely not. You go to prison for punishment ( sic ), not pleasure.
    They are there because they, no-one else, thought they would be clever and break the law.
    Commit the crime and do the time, you forfeit all human rights except the right to live ( unless you murder some-one, then you shouldnt be there )and that includes the right to vote.

  • Comment number 49.

    How on earth has this stupidity been allowed to continue...What the hell do convicted criminals care about the human rights of the society they have violated...No, No and No

  • Comment number 50.

    Nothing like a rabble-rousing topic! Why not - doesn't harm the rest of Europe!

    "CoeurDeHamster wrote:
    If the idea of democracy is that everyone’s vote counts why do I want violent thugs, murderers, rapists, et al having a say in how the country is run?"

    Hate to break this to you Coer....

  • Comment number 51.

    This is OUTRAGEOUS, I thought that being convicted meant your rights to participate in society were removed for the length of your sentence. The Human Rights act is being pushed to the limit. When are we as the people going to stand up and say enough is enough. Its also nice to know that the tax payer paid for the case with legal aid. Another victory for the justice system. Surely no one in Government actually believes that this is good for our country. It would be nice to know what would happen if the UK just decided to ignore the ruling. Would we go to war or would there be a fine!!! Why not just say NO and say that this decision is not in the best interest of our country.

    Come on David Cameron just tell them that this time we will not implement the ruling.

  • Comment number 52.

    99.9% of prisoners are guilty and deserve to be punished by imprisonment. However 0.1% are found to be innocent.Most of their lives have been totally destroyed by an incompetent and uncaring society. Those innocents should have the right to totally destroy any persons, organisations or institutions involved in the destruction of their lives. To all society - be careful what you wish for.

  • Comment number 53.

    What right has the EU to overturn UK law? Does this now mean that the EU can over turn any law some unelected quango/committee does not like. I think we should take a lesson from the French; when they don't like an outsider telling them what to do they ignore it.

    We need to either renegotiate terms of EU membership or get out. This is NOT what I voted for back in the early 70's when I voted to join the EU. No one ever said we would lose the right to make laws.

  • Comment number 54.

    its a free for all in the uk so why not.

  • Comment number 55.

    Maybe the labour politicians who are facing prosecution over their expenses claim could be their MP

    or maybe a route back in to politics for Lord Archer.

  • Comment number 56.

    We don't want more BNP and Tory voters.

  • Comment number 57.

    These people are in Prison because they have taken away the Human rights of their victims, and all you ever hear about is the "Rights of the Criminals/Prisoners" WHAT ABOUT THE RIGHTS OF THE VICTIMS!!! Prison is no longer Prison it's a Holiday Camp, they have Gyms Colour TV, Cable or Satellite TV. My ex Brother in Law used to live out doors during the Summer and as soon as it came to the first frost, he would beat up the nearest Policeman and have a nice warm cushy cell for the Winter, but someone like myself, a disabled ex serviceman, I have to often choose in winter between heating or eating. I'm disgusted by this whole thing and the "European court of Human Rights". When we vote we vote for Politicians and not these euro idiots in their Ivory Towers that have no conception of normal life.

  • Comment number 58.

    It's part of the punishment for wrongdoing.

    I wonder when someone will rule that denying criminals their liberty is against their human rights.........

  • Comment number 59.

    Convicted people give up all rights when they break the law as far as I am concerned and when sent to prison at taxpayers expense they certainly should not have any say in how the UK is run and therefor no right at ALL to have a vote.
    I think this country has been soft on crime for 50 years too long.
    Bring back hanging for murder!

  • Comment number 60.

    Why not change the rules completely? Only lunatics and convicted prisoners can vote! That would certainly comply with the modern thinking!

  • Comment number 61.

    Once and for all - the European Court of Human Rights is nothing to do with the EU. It covers many countries such as Norway and Switzerland which are not in the EU so please stop banging on (in this connection) about the EU, Brussels, and all the rest of it.

    As for the issue - I am not enthusiastic but 70,000 votes spread over the constituencies where they formerly lived is not going to change the fate of the nation. And who knows - some of them might take an interest and benefit. It's democracy: the incompetent and ignorant get a vote too.

    And those who believe that prisons are holiday camps should stop taking the tabloids.

  • Comment number 62.

    I'm going to have to buck the trend in the comments so far.

    Prisoners should absolutely be given the right to vote. Progress in democratic societies relies on giving a voice to those most people would rather ignore. Do we want to be tough on crime or tough on the causes? It's about time we started listening to the reasons why people end up in prison instead of sticking to the archaic belief that the punishment of a prison sentence is a deterrent to crime. People are institutionalised to protect society - if we're truly serious about reducing crime then we need to start thinking about preventative measures, not reactionary ones.

    Giving prisoners the right to vote may be a small, almost insignificant, step, but a step in the right direction. Why are people so against it? Are they afraid of votes being cast in judgement of a society they benefit from, but from which others suffer?

  • Comment number 63.

    Surely they're all just going to vote for the party with the most liberal stance on jail sentences aren't they?

  • Comment number 64.

    As I understand it, the problem is the "blanket" nature of the ban. We could, for example, decide that prisoners with five more years to serve (who would therefore not get out in the life of the parlianment being elected) lose the vote, or go through all the imprisonable offences and decide which ones lose you the vote, or allow the judge to decide as part of the sentence whether individual prisoners lose the vote.

    Sounds reasonable enough.

  • Comment number 65.

    Absolutely should prisoners vote.

    Nobody is born good and nobody is born bad. All of us are capable of the greatest good but also the nastiest evils.

    It is our environment that drives us to the choices we make, and is ultimately what makes us "good" or "bad".

    Give prisoners a chance to help change the the system that had imposed the forces directing them to the bad choices they made. After all, they are the ones with the real first hand experience of the worst parts of the system. They are in a good position to help change it.

    We will all benefit.

  • Comment number 66.

    This is the final dilution of this once great country. A fully functioning society requires all members of it to protect the values that uphold the society. When someone commits a crime they have stopped aiding the good of the society. We send them to prison as a punishment of their choice to act outside of community good. Why then do we allow so many continued privelges which those who do look after society enjoy? The right to vote is a fundamental right for a conscientious member of society. It should be lost if you decide not to be a fully functioning member of it!

  • Comment number 67.

    Absolutely not. Convicted prisoners should leave their "human rights" at the door of the prison.

  • Comment number 68.

    I don't understand why there hasn't been an organised rally or protest about the EU yet. The only thing the EU seems to do, apart from being an expensive free trade agreement, is fuel us with reasons to hate those on the commission. Surprised no-one seems to care about how all these laws are imposed.

  • Comment number 69.

    It really is remarkable that so many people can have such strong opinions on this matter without (I assume) having read the judgment of the ECHR. I have to say that I think it is likely that matters are a little more complicated than simply saying that all prisoners have given up their human rights by offending. I don't think that all prisoners can be categorised as evil and undeserved of human rights: should we torture tax evaders?

    Another issue that is prevalent in these comments is the fact that many conflate two very different institutions. The ECHR decides cases on the European Convention of Human Rights which is part of our law (as a schedule to the Human Rights Act): to say that prisoners should lose human rights is meaningless, no one is above (or below) the protection of the law (are we free to burgle prisoners houses as well?). The EU has nothing to do with the ECHR and I think people should spend a bit more time looking into matters before asserting their very strong opinions on the basis of misinformation.

  • Comment number 70.

    What on earth is the matter with us? We should be paying less and less attention to what comes out of the mouth of Brussels, not succumbing to every whim and fancy that enters its head. Oh David Cameron,for goodness sake, dig your heels in and be entrenched. Prisoners have been jailed for crimes,whatever they may be and loss of liberty and rights are part of the punishment. We must stop this mamby-pamby pandering and stand up for the human rights of the victims of crime not the perpetrators.The EU needs to change from within and Britain needs a much louder voice.

  • Comment number 71.

    This was only a matter of time and I wait with baited breath to see what the European Courts come up with next. Not to long ago we heard that Male/Female prisoners have a 'Right' to explore the possibility of having children despite not having even met in person and whilst still incarcerated in different prisons. This is just another reason to tell Europe to "Go and get Stuffed" once and for all, what next, Sex in Cells during visits (or do they do that already?).

  • Comment number 72.

    39. At 06:20am on 02 Nov 2010, The Leveller wrote:
    Human rights are simply intrinsic to our humanity and therefore apply to everyone. People most in danger of losing their human rights are those subject to conditions where authority is most likely to be abused and that includes prisons. Almost all prisoners will be released sooner or later and, if they are to be expected to treat society with respect, they must feel a part of that society. Voting in prison will be a clear demonstration to prisoners that they have not been forgotten by society and that they have a stake in it. This is a long overdue reform.
    These prisoners had the right to vote before they were incarcerated and yet they still had no respect for society as they committed their crime/s, why should they now have respect for society just because the Namby Pamby ECHC decides they need to be allowed to vote?

  • Comment number 73.

    People who have decided to break the law and have been convicted should not have the right to vote and should not be allowed to sue the goverment for not allowing them to vote.
    I am outraged that our government is allowing prisoners to vote. They lost all their rights when they are put in prison and get them back when they are released.

  • Comment number 74.

    To be honest the irony is laughable. People who blatantly ignore the Human Rights of others, then use the same to enforce their own! I think this is just the ECHR trying to justify their own existence, if they didn't make these ridiculous laws every now and then, to outrage nations, they would be hard pushed to justify why we need them.

  • Comment number 75.

    Andrew (61) Got to the ECHR being nothing to do with the EU before me.
    Read the article the British Government can decide which offences will still cause offenders to loose their vote, so there's nothing to stop them removing the vote from ******** add your crime here.

  • Comment number 76.

    I'm in the camp that people are in prison because they have impinged on the human rights of their victims and as such sacrifice some of theirs. After all, it's against their human rights to take away their freedom and lock them up in the first place.

  • Comment number 77.

    The lady behind this disgraceful interference in our national systems has clearly never suffered at the hands of these people. It is shameful that yet again Britain's sovereignty is attacked by folk who have forgotten the sound reasons for our country applying the rule in the first place. Lets withdraw from the Treaty that forces us to spend huge sums on ridiculous so called causes.

  • Comment number 78.

    Censorship by another name!

  • Comment number 79.

    It's to be expected, really.
    If a 20-year old, single mother of 4, living in a detatched home, with all healthcare, schooling, and other 'essential' costs paid for by the taxpayer, claims that it's 'her right' to be a money-grabbing burden on society, then why not give prisoners the right to vote?

    I really can't see the difference between the two.

  • Comment number 80.

    Any prisoner convicted of any offence that is against the Human Rights of others, murder, assault, and theft for example should lose all rights under the Human Rights Act. They therefore should not get the vote or access to legal aid during their imprisonment or even licence.

  • Comment number 81.

    So now the handcuffs are applied even harder to the criminal justice system than ever.

    The police's hands are already tied firmly behind their back. They can scarcely grab onto a fleeing crim without being sued or complained against.

    Now prisoners have regained perhaps the only liberty that has previously been denied, considering that prison is basically a Michelin-Star hotel now.

    When will this country (and/or the EU) wake up and realise that the softly-softly approach DOES NOT WORK.

  • Comment number 82.

    Why shouldn't prisoners vote? It's not exact;ly a subversive activity and neither is it a lavish luxury. As to the poster whop earlier claimed 'Human rights are not God-given rights' you are an idiot. Of course they are. That's the whole point - they are rights you have merely for being a human.

  • Comment number 83.

    Simple solution: pass a law which makes it possible to punish criminals by removal of their civil rights. The judge could order loss of the right to vote, also loss of the right to take civil action in the courts.

    This should only be possible where a criminal is guilty of breaching the human rights of another person - by physical attack or other serious nuisance such as blackmail. Political crimes such as drug dealing would not count.

    The most serious crimes could also involve stripping someone of their British citizenship - and if the Human Rights Court (a collection of ex-Nazis and religious extremists) complains about the first measure well this is the road we should go down. We wouldn't be able to deport these people, unless they had another nationality, but it would stop them voting!

  • Comment number 84.

    No. Certainly not.

    Too many rights for the criminal and not enough for society at large.

    This human rights stuff needs looking at. When Bliar brought it in many thought it would end in tears and here we are dictated to by Brussels.

    Lets rethink the EU thing. Certainly there are good bits but a federal state we must not become. This is not just a UK view.

  • Comment number 85.

    Years ago, it was only certified lunatics, felons undergoing sentence, and peers of the realm who were forbidden to vote in general elections. Now the muggers and rapists have more civic rights than the poor aristocracy. Come on peers, complain to the european court. You have nothing to lose but your coronets!

  • Comment number 86.

    8. At 05:03am on 02 Nov 2010, David wrote:
    Once convicted of a crime, a prisoner should lose all their rights. Upon completion of their sentence and return to functioning society then the right to vote is returned.
    The EU is yet again interfering in the domestic policies of the UK, it would better if the EU went and carried out an audit of their accounts!!!!!


    Couldn't agree more David - hammer, nail, head..... on both points.

  • Comment number 87.

    No, prisoners should not be allowed to vote. Prison should be a punishment, and part of that punishment should be the loss of partaking in noprmal society.
    Definitly time to get out of EU.

  • Comment number 88.

    Prisoners should not get the vote because they should lose their human rights as soon as they commit an offence. They have human responsibilities, too! We should replace the Human Rights Act with a Human Rights and Responsibilities Act.

  • Comment number 89.

    All the ECHR has said is that the blanket ban on voting is unjustified, not that all prisoners should be entitled to vote. People are in prison for a variety of reasons and lengths of time so surely we can agree not all prisoners should be in the same position? It amazes me that people think human rights, which include the right to life and right against torture, are in some way optional. However, I am not surprised that people have advanced no real reason for their position other than they don't like prisoners.

  • Comment number 90.

    Comment 56, HumanObean.

    'We don't want any more BNP and Tory voters'

    No that's right, because Labour really sorted things out didn't they! Its a good job labour got a grip of crime and punishment otherwise our society would be in a right state wouldn't it? What a fantastic they've done of curbing the idiots roaming our streets and streaming across our borders....

  • Comment number 91.

    no they should not be allowed to vote we are too soft on prisoners they do not deserve human rights what about there victims this is just another example of the uk bowing down to the softies of this world

  • Comment number 92.

    ECHR is once again imposing its crass decesions on us.A referendum on Europe should sort that out.Prison just doesn't do what it says on the tin anymore.Deterrent?Ha!

  • Comment number 93.

    These people have lost their right to participate in society - that is why they are locked up. Thus, by extension, they should not be advanced any of the privileges of that society.

    More idealogical nonsense from the mouthes of those who will never have to carry out the practical consequences of their lofty idiocy.

  • Comment number 94.

    N0! They are outside the Law and have no say in civilized society. This and joining of our Forces with the French shows how far down the road we have been driven to complete acceptance of EU rule. Either we withdraw from the EU now your start getting used to French and German police patrolling our streets and our Army forced to fight more wars not of our making.
    Prince Charles will not be King of Great Britain, he may be allowed to be crowned King of England as a state of Europe but not as an independent Country. One final word Bilderberger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 95.

    The European Court should explain what they mean in language we can understand. Why is it self-evidently "discriminatory" to deny prisoners the vote, if they have manifestly forfeited their rights by abandoning their obligations to society?

  • Comment number 96.

    I am just lost for words as to where this country is heading. Human Rights has never helped the law abiding citizen and it appears that the people that are destroying this country always use the Human Rights as it's excuse. Prisoners lose the right to their civil liberty and voting has to be included in that, but now a 140 year old BRITISH law has been overturned by the EU.... How is this allowed, why have we become so weak.
    Prisoners get far too many priviledges and this just adds to the list... i work in Prisons so trust me i know.

    But we can write on this forum all we like, we can air our frustrations until the laughing cows come home, because until we as a PROUD nation, start to stand up for ourselves and say enough is enough of EVERYTHING that is not right with this country (which used to be GREAT) we will continue to become a nation which is fast becoming a worldwide joke, amongst it's residents and onlookers.

  • Comment number 97.

    100% agree with runckle - No 1

  • Comment number 98.

    But surely, if Ken Clarke gets his way, there won't be any prisoners anyway.

  • Comment number 99.

    Absolutely not! They have chosen to carry out crimes against their fellow citizens and therefore they should lose the common rights that being a good citizen earns.

  • Comment number 100.

    I would be unhappy at a situation where a party could appeal to the imprisoned electorate by having a manifesto which included cutting sentences for example.

    When people go to prison they lose a lot of human rights - that's largely the point. Voting is just one right they lose. Maybe keeping someone locked up is also against their human rights.

    Anyway I thought this government wasn't going to be dictated to by Europe.


Page 1 of 13

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.