We’re currently being told that by not allowing prisoners to have a vote in elections we are, as a country, depriving them of their human rights. I can see where that comes from but it’s bigger than saying they are not being given their humans rights.
Look at it as a wider picture. Should a person who tries to kill another person then be allowed every human right out there?
As a bit of background, I have seen people attempting to kill other people. I have witnessed a man jumping on the head of another man. What is actually behind that? It’s attempted murder. While that person was jumping on the head of the other he wasn’t thinking about the rights, human, civil, or otherwise of his victim, he was simply thinking about killing him.
He didn’t succeed but he did alter his victims life forever.
So, should that person, the one who attempted murder and had no thoughts for his victims one, basic, human right – to be alive – be entitled to vote?
Yes or no?
It’s not entirely clear. While my gut tells me no, they shouldn’t be allowed to vote, they shouldn’t be allowed to do many things because they tried to take the very basic of human rights away from their victim.
I then can’t help but think about what prisons are really supposed to be about, apart from punishment and the removal of liberty – they are supposed to be about rehabilitation.
The idea, in a perfect world, is that people go to prison, have freedoms restricted and hate that, and work towards being a better person so that on their release they provide a worthy contribution to society.
In a perfect world, that would be true.
So what can we do? I don’t like the idea that prisoners who are working hard while incarcerated are subject to the same law that people who can’t be bothered are. So maybe we need to redefine which kinds of prisoners can’t vote. Perhaps if you’ve been to prison more than three times your vote should stop. Perhaps it depends on the severity of your crime. If you’re in for murder does it really equate that you should have a free vote if you took that right to vote away from your victim?
Let’s take an example – if a prisoner is jailed for five years should they be exempt there on if they prove, while in prison, that they want to be a worthy member of society? I don’t think they should. If they work hard, study hard, stay out of trouble they can vote, even while in prison but most certainly while they are out.
If they are the kind of prisoner who causes trouble, causes fights and injuries, have no interest in rehabilitating themselves, or who cannot stay out of prison, it might be argued that they really have no interest in society and shouldn’t be allowed to vote.
In actuality it’s wide open and is not as simple as saying votes should be lost forever if you are convicted. If people are to be rehabilitated into society then voting comes as a part of that.
It’s a huge subject and shouldn’t be a yes or no issue. Not if prisons are really for rehabilitation.