Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Prisoner Voting

A ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union has upheld a ban on a French convicted murderer who was serving a sentence of more than five years from taking part in the European elections - The Guardian 6th October

* See the Court of Justice EU judgment *

The court ruled that the ban on him voting represented a breach of the EU charter of fundamental rights but that it was proportionate “in so far as it takes into account the nature and gravity of the criminal offence committed and the duration of the penalty”

This ruling does not appear to be out of line with the position adopted by the European Court of Human Rights (E Ct HR) which has upheld voting bans imposed by some countries where the offence committed had been serious and the term of imprisonment lengthy - see, for example, the Scoppola case.

The United Kingdom
maintains a blanket ban on prisoner voting (no matter what the offence or length of imprisonment imposed) and that has not found favour with the E Ct HR - see the Hirst No. 2 case.  To date, the British government has refused to alter domestic law to come into compliance with Hirst.  The government argues that whether or not to permit prisoners to vote ought to be determined by national Parliaments.
E Ct HR Factsheet on Prisoner Voting

EU Charter of Fundamental Rights 

Council of Europe concern over UK stance 

Addendum 9th October:

Joshua Rozenberg - Michael Gove should take this opportunity to give prisoners a vote

1 comment:

  1. I think it will bring about giving them a sense of belonging,since the are to be rehabilitated back into the society