Evidence to the Scottish Equality and Human Right Committee on prisoners voting

Document type
Corporate author(s)
Prison Reform Trust
Prison Reform Trust
Date of publication
1 August 2017
Criminal Justice Services, Offenders
Social welfare
Material type

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The Prison Reform Trust welcomes the decision of the Equality and Human Rights committee to hold a one-off oral evidence scoping session on prisoners voting. The Prison Reform Trust has, along with other NGOs, MSPs, AMs, MPs and peers, long been supportive of reforming the ban on voting rights for prisoners.

The blanket ban on prisoners voting in the UK is contained in the Representation of the People Act 1983. It is based on the 19th century notion of ‘civic death’, whereby prisoners cease to count as citizens and lose their identity. By maintaining the blanket ban, the UK is in breach of its international obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), as confirmed by repeated judgements of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). It is also out of step with all but five member states of the Council of Europe, as well as with the majority of developed nations throughout the world.

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