Today Members of Parliament are debating the Court of Human Rights decision that prisoners should be allowed to vote. Strong views have been expressed that this should not be permitted but, as has been pointed out, due to the Court ruling, Great Britain does not have a choice. The argument against the Courts decision is that when a person breaks a law which results in their imprisonment they lose their civil rights. It seems, from press reports that there are very strong views about this from the general public. In the end the Government will have no option but to implement some scheme to satisfy the Court, or be subject to massive claims from people denied what they argue are their democratic rights.
There is another point of view which I hold. As Christians we believe in redemption and forgiveness so prison should be a time for rehabilitation enabling a person to re-enter society as a responsible citizen. One factor in rehabilitation is the recognition by the offender that he or she should participate in the democratic process of our country, both local and national. Voting is part of that participation. I suspect that many in prison have never ever taken the trouble to vote and prison could/should be the place to prepare an ex-offender to take an interest in local and national government.
Perhaps the compromise would be to allow prisoners to vote after they have served 75% of their sentence.