Prisoner Ben has commented on prisoner’s voting rights so do head over and give it a read. The legal case is as water tight as Ben points out, hence the dithering on the part of our politicians. The internal case is the interesting one, the argument you make with yourself. Fundamentally it all comes down to whether you think taking part in democratic elections is a human right. If it is then prisoners must absolutely have that right. Human rights exist to protect individuals from the state and no one needs that protection more than those in the care of the state. Prisoners need the protection from torture, murder, the right to a fair trial, etc and I doubt many people would dispute that.
So is the right to regular, free and fair elections in the same league as those? Should it be there? Of course it should! Removing the right to vote and making it a gift from the state would be horrific and take us back in cultural terms a hundred years or more. I’d be distinctly uncomfortable in a state where the right to vote was regarded as a little treat tacked on at the end of every 5 years. It’s the building block from which everything else is founded on. As much as I may despair at our politicians and get angry as the nanny state grows and grows at least I’m in a democratic society.
Looking forward to seeing egg on all politicians faces come next election. Surprised they seemed so sure they could get away with the voting rights to “only those with less than a four year sentence” deal. Might not even get that now :D!