Following years of indecision, the United kingdom will be taking steps to give prisoners the vote. John Hirst, a murderer who slaughtered his landlady with an axe, began the whole affair five years. The European Court of Human Rights decided in 2005 that a total ban on prisoners went against the European understanding of human rights, due to John Hirst’s case.
For 5 years the government managed to avoid actually implementing the ruling of the ECHR, however, in order to prevent costly compensation payments the government has decided to enforce the decision. Under the guidelines the ECHR set up, specific governments can decide which prisoners acquire voting rights. Among politicians, judges, and Solicitors in London the issue has become very divisive.
The issue has become very marked by controversy among London solicitors, to say the least, and the controversy exists at several levels. That being said, many british people are at odds with the the decision for no reason other than they resent the EU for forcing the UK to adopt the continental conception of human rights.
The is little to know internal consistency in this argument, however. The Scottish government, for example, was forced by the UK supreme court to give detainees the right to access a lawyer during interogations. There is actually no difference between the UK forcing Scotland to accept its idea of human rights, and EU forcing the UK accepts its. No one shoved the UK into the EU; it was completely voluntary.
The real issue is the intellectual issue of whether or not prisoners have the right to vote at all. The case has been made, by the Prison reform trust and various left wing IBB’s lawyers in London that everyone must be given the right to vote for a state to be a legitimate democracy.
Not everyone is convinced, however. Convicted criminals, some have articulated, give up their right to vote when the break the law. At this time, however, many prisoners are going to receive the vote. The question of which kinds of convicted criminals will be given the right to vote will decided soon, and it is an important one?