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Citizenship or Civic Death? Extending the Franchise to Convicted Prisoners

Jago, R and Marriott, J (2007) Citizenship or Civic Death? Extending the Franchise to Convicted Prisoners Web Journal of Current Legal Issues, 5. ISSN 1360-1326

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Abstract

Following the decision of the ECtHR in Hirst v UK, (Application no. 74025/01) the government indicated a need, as opposed to a desire, to reconsider the disenfranchisement of convicted prisoners. Over eighteen months on, no firm decision as to future policy has been made, although consultation has been undertaken. In view of the government’s apparent procrastination, this paper identifies a number of issues that should be given prominence, by critically evaluating the justifications for the current blanket ban on prisoner voting and assessing whether this form of penal sanction is proportionate and legitimate. Through an exploration of these themes, the wider ramifications of disenfranchisement emerge. The suggestion is that serious collateral consequences flow from the withdrawal of voting rights such that members of particular groups in the prison population are a-typically and intensely affected. Of particular concern is the ban’s impact on ethnic minority prisoners, given their already failing engagement with the electoral process outside the prison walls. With the government advocating a partial ban, it is contended that any denial to inmates of their voting rights bestows a ‘civic death’, to the detriment of prisoner rehabilitation and modern democratic principle.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright © 2007 Robert Jago and Jane Marriott. First published in Web Journal of Current Legal Issues.
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Economics and Law > Law
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 04 May 2012 10:36
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2013 19:20
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/342989

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