Howard League Scotland calls for voting rights for prisoners

Howard League Scotland calls for voting rights for prisoners

The Howard League for Penal Reform in Scotland today called for voting rights to be extended to convicted prisoners in all Scotland and UK wide elections.

Howard League Scotland Convener, John Scott QC, said:

“We have heard the First Minister speak about his aspirations for the franchise in Scotland with regard to 16 and 17 year olds, as well as his views about compulsory voting. Should the Scottish Parliament at some point in the future be granted powers to decide on the franchise for Scottish voters, we hope that MSPs will consider extending the franchise to convicted prisoners.

“At the very least, and in the absence of those powers, we call on all the Scottish parties to support the recommendations of the 2013 report of the Joint Committee of the UK Parliament which recommended giving the vote to prisoners serving sentences of less than 12 months.

“It is a source of huge regret to Howard League Scotland that the Scottish Parliament rejected all bids to allow prisoners serving a sentence to have a voice in the independence referendum. Over 6,000 people in Scottish prisons on 18 September, including all those whose sentence disqualified them from voting for no more than a matter of weeks or months, were deprived of any say at all in the permanent future of their nation.

“The decision to follow the UK’s complete ban on voting by convicted prisoners was a missed opportunity and left Scotland firmly outside the European democratic mainstream. The vast majority of the 47 Council of Europe nations allow some or all convicted prisoners to vote.”

Category Penal Policy

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