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Let prisoners vote, just like other citizens



Graham H (2019) Let prisoners vote, just like other citizens. Scottish Policy and Research Exchange (SPRE) blog [Blog Post] 13.09.2019.

Prisoner voting is on the agenda again at Holyrood with the Scottish Elections (Franchise and Representation) Bill. A key policy aim of this Government Bill is to enfranchise some convicted prisoners aged 16 and older to be eligible to vote in Scottish Parliament and local government elections in order to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights, overturning a longstanding blanket ban on prisoner voting. As a criminologist and fellow citizen, I support this Bill, while arguing that it should be amended to be braver and go further in enfranchising more prisoners than initially proposed. Intransigence and populist politicisation of this human rights issue have meant we lag behind many European counterparts, our blanket ban putting us with Russia, Bulgaria and Hungary. Whereas Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Ireland have no electoral ban on prisoner voting – a progressive Nordic and Celtic arc of nations Scotland should join, now the power to enfranchise is devolved to Holyrood.

prisoner voting; elections; Scottish Parliament; democracy; franchise; human rights

Type of mediaBlog Post
Publication date13/09/2019
Publication date online13/09/2019
PublisherScottish Policy & Research Exchange
Publisher URL…-other-citizens/

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Dr Hannah Graham

Dr Hannah Graham

Senior Lecturer, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology