What’s ACCA-ning?
Arts
58 views
58 views

What’s ACCA-ning?

Emma Nay - October 16, 2018
Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
94 views
94 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018
University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
130 views
130 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018
Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
112 views
112 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018
Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
138 views
138 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018
In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
210 views
210 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018
Brighton Needs You!
News
141 views
141 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
287 views
287 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
232 views
232 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
231 views
231 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
262 views
262 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
New Aldi Creates Jobs and Traffic Problems
News
17 views
17 views

New Aldi Creates Jobs and Traffic Problems

Jessica Hubbard - October 20, 2018
333 Views

The Big Debate: should prisoners get the vote?

As David Cameron enters a face-off with the European Court of Human Rights, this week’s Badger asks, should prisoners receive the right to vote?

YES — Cello David
To not believe in prisoners gaining the right to vote, is to not believe in democracy. JFK once said that “the ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.” But what gives him or anyone the right to decide whose voice is ‘ignorant’ and whose is not?

Democracy, as with human rights, is not something we can pick and choose at; it is put in place to protect and represent each and every one of us. It is certainly not meant as a tool to subjugate and alienate minorities.

Similar to the point illustrated in Niemöllers poem First They Came, if we allow a person or body like the government to decide for themselves who can hold them to account, or indeed if any of us believe we can dictate who is worthy of enfranchisement, then where does this stop? It’s irrefutably a slippery slope.

At the heart of democracy is the concept of accountability, and key to accountability is universal enfranchisement. The moment you start allowing exceptions to this is the moment you cease to live in a functioning democracy. Ergo, to believe prisoners do not deserve the right to vote is akin to rejecting democracy.

Some hold the view that voting is the right of a citizen, and once someone offends they lose those rights. However, if you take for example the February 2011 report by HM Inspectorate of Wandsworth Prison which described the treatment of offenders within the prison as “demeaning, unsafe” and falling below “what could be classed as decent,” it no longer remains an issue of citizens’ rights and becomes an issue of basic human rights.

Without equal access to accountability, basic human rights are never assured. Not granting prisoners basic human rights can only have a detrimental effect; who can argue that the 32 incidents of self-harm and 11 deaths that occurred in Wandsworth during 2010 were anything other than a deficit of basic human rights?

Those who support the removal of a prisoner’s right to vote also stand in the way of rehabilitation. This is a grave error if you wish to live in a safe and stable society. By not enfranchising potential voters you allow them to feel alienated from society, mentally in addition to their physical alienation, making the process of reintegration into society even harder than is necessary. Maybe this is why the reoffending rate last year was 1 in 4.

Clearly there is something fundamentally wrong with the system for the rate to be so high. If you take a look at countries that allow the prisoners the right to vote, they have far lower reoffending rate than England. Norway, for example, has the lowest reoffending rate in Europe.

Surely if giving the vote to prisoners helps prevent recidivism then it is a move in the right direction, not to mention key to democratic legitimacy.

If you are sceptical of the correlation between reoffending and rehabilitation, then you can still empathise with the policy of universal enfranchisement and rehabilitation on a human level. Democracy is about the equal say of all voices, not the suppression of those voices we deem to be wrong.

This was the very reason the European Convention of Human Rights was put in place. It was created to counter the suppression under which Stalin’s Russia put its people and the subjugation of those voices it didn’t deem ‘correct’.

At a human level we know we have a duty to stand up for the basic democratic and human rights of all, regardless of who they are. To punish with no view or aim of rehabilitation is simply malicious; as Socrates said, “One should never do wrong in return, nor mistreat any man, no matter how one has been mistreated by him.”

We must believe in a basic set of universal human rights that each human being should be granted with no exceptions. The right of prisoners to vote must be one of these rights

If you do not believe that prisoners deserve this you should at least believe democracy deserves this. Because without the enfranchisement of prisoners, democracy loses its legitimacy and the country loses its humanity.

 

NO — Louis Patel
Giving prisoners the right to vote? Come one, that one really doesn’t make sense. Prisons are there for a purpose, the most obvious being to separate those who are deemed a threat to society out of society. Surely to give the vote to those who have been removed from society or abused society is an affront to our democracy and a mockery of the system.

The issue the government are facing is two dimensional: firstly that of the European Court of Human Rights (‘ECtHR’) telling us how to run our judicial system, and secondly the plain issue of prisoners having the vote.

It would be wrong for the government to bow to the ECtHR on this one, as it is simply something Britain really does not want to do: no one British has voted for it, have they? I firmly believe that now is the time for us to redefine our relationship with Europe, but more importantly for us to stick to the principle that it would be wrong to allow prisoners to vote.

On the issue of the simple question, should prisoners have the vote, I do not want to advocate a harsh criminal justice system run purely for the punishment of individuals convicted of crime. My personal belief is that prisons should reform inmates while also protecting society from dangerous individuals. It would be very easy to say that by giving prisoners the vote that it would help them learn responsibility, but that surely questions what prisons and the justice system is there for.

The consequence of committing an offence is removal from society, and one of society’s aspects is the right to vote, so why should that be excepted from the consequences of crime? If prisoners feel a yearning to vote, their aim should be to get rehabilitated and, upon release, regain that right (of course, our prison system would need to be reformed and improved to achieve this goal). I completely agree that prisoners need to be taught citizenship, but that can be done internally, not by devaluing the vote.

On the issue of Europe, it does seem wrong that once again we need to have to comply with something which many citizens haven’t even voted for or been given the chance to give their consent to.

However, I also think it’s wrong to let Europe define this issue too much. Although it is an example of how European human rights law has too much influence over the UK, it should not intrude on the key question.

It is truly laughable to say by denying the prisoner a chance to vote, one is violating their human rights. Although a prisoner is of course not inhuman, as some ridiculous hardliners say, there has to be some forfeit to make prisons valid. But do we really want to have to go down the route of letting Europe once again dictate what we should and shouldn’t do? This should be our chance to stick two fingers up at Strasbourg once and for all and say, in the words of Thatcher, “No, no, no!”

If this did go through, then let’s be frank, what can Parliament do anymore? If it can’t reject a change that many don’t want then surely it loses something.

But returning to the central question, we simply shouldn’t tamper with our judicial and prison system. As I’ve already argued, the prison system does need to reform to help it rehabilitate and truly cut crime, but this really isn’t the way.

It would mean redefining what consequence there should be from crime, not something which needs addressing. What the government should be doing is tackling the causes of crime and aiming to stop reoffending, not to have some squabble with the ECtHR. This simply is not something we should sit back on and let happen; we should fight to keep a system which doesn’t need changing. Prisons should be about separation and rehabilitation. Let’s not change that.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
What’s ACCA-ning?
Arts
58 views
58 views

What’s ACCA-ning?

Emma Nay - October 16, 2018
Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
94 views
94 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018
University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
130 views
130 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018
Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
112 views
112 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018
Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
138 views
138 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018
In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
210 views
210 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018
Brighton Needs You!
News
141 views
141 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
287 views
287 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
232 views
232 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
231 views
231 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
262 views
262 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
New Aldi Creates Jobs and Traffic Problems
News
17 views
17 views

New Aldi Creates Jobs and Traffic Problems

Jessica Hubbard - October 20, 2018
BCU Black Studies Degree Talk
Campus News
20 views
20 views

BCU Black Studies Degree Talk

Matthew Nicholls - October 20, 2018
Bliss Signal Album Review
Music
48 views
48 views

Bliss Signal Album Review

Ryan Bridgewater - October 18, 2018

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

De-Stressing with Rob Cowen’s Common Ground
Arts
67 views
Arts
67 views

De-Stressing with Rob Cowen’s Common Ground

Hal Keelin - October 18, 2018

Upon my transfer to Sussex University, I found Robert Cowen’s Common Ground a particularly comforting read. After nearly a year out from academic study, I was finally…

What’s ACCA-ning?
Arts
58 views
Arts
58 views

What’s ACCA-ning?

Emma Nay - October 16, 2018

  All you need to know about autumn at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts If you have not seen the ACCA’s new autumn programme, you…

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols
Arts
94 views
Arts
94 views

Review: Journeying with Grace Nichols

Kate Dennett - October 12, 2018

In celebration of Black History Month, Sussex Student Union organised a number of interesting talks and events across October. One of these exciting opportunities was a chance…

Review: Suzanne Ciani & Martin Messier at the ACCA
Film & Theatre
79 views
Film & Theatre
79 views

Review: Suzanne Ciani & Martin Messier at the ACCA

Anonymous - October 10, 2018

At the outset, Mr Messier’s FIELD at once invoked The Matrix and Daedalus’ Boiler Room set.  The basic concept of this mixed media performance relies on transducer…

Shelf Help: The Organisation Encouraging Self-Development
Arts
118 views
Arts
118 views

Shelf Help: The Organisation Encouraging Self-Development

Kate Dennett - October 10, 2018

To commemorate to this year’s Mental Health Awareness Day, I found it increasingly difficult to draw attention to just one book of relevance in recognition of this…

Freshers’ Week from a second year perspective
Campus News
105 views
Campus News
105 views

Freshers’ Week from a second year perspective

Chris Ahjem - October 9, 2018

Annually, the University of Sussex welcomes thousands of new students to our Falmer campus and every year the Student’s Union and Brighton based clubs and businesses increase…

National Badger Day: 10 fun facts you might not have known
News
154 views
News
154 views

National Badger Day: 10 fun facts you might not have known

Chris Ahjem - October 6, 2018

To celebrate National Badger Day here are 10 fun facts about our animal kingdom namesake Badgers can run up to 16-19 miles per hour which is the…

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week
Arts
130 views
Arts
130 views

University of Sussex Joins Libraries Week

Kate Dennett - October 6, 2018

This coming week marks the celebration of Libraries Week, an event solely dedicated to praising the work of libraries across the UK. This annual event is taking…

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin
Interview
112 views
Interview
112 views

Oscar Jerome at The Hope and Ruin

Alex Leissle - October 4, 2018

The young star is often a tricky title to navigate. There are the big names, who explode into the world with noise, bright light, a big record…

How Fenty Beauty changed the face of the makeup industry
Lifestyle
144 views
Lifestyle
144 views

How Fenty Beauty changed the face of the makeup industry

Rachel Badham - October 3, 2018

Fenty Beauty, launched in September last year, is a makeup line created by global superstar Robyn Rihanna Fenty, better known as Rihanna. It’s not uncommon for celebrity…

Why we should all embrace drag
Lifestyle
138 views
Lifestyle
138 views

Why we should all embrace drag

Chris Ahjem - October 3, 2018

Once an art form disregarded by many, 2018 bears witness to the continuous rise of drag as a legitimate, celebrated art. Spearheaded by RuPaul’s Drag Race, drag…

In Conversation with Alannah Myles
Arts
210 views
Arts
210 views

In Conversation with Alannah Myles

Anastasia Konstantinidou - October 3, 2018

This week we had the pleasure of interviewing Alannah Myles, the 1991 Grammy winner for best female rock vocal performance for her outstanding vocal abilities for the…

Brighton Needs You!
News
141 views
News
141 views

Brighton Needs You!

Anonymous - September 28, 2018

Brighton is a vibrant and thriving city that many students at Sussex are lucky enough to call home. But there are many in the area in need…

Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
287 views
Arts
287 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018

Starting university comes with both exciting but potentially daunting changes, with both moving away from home and studying at degree level posing to be two new challenges.…

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist
Film & Theatre
207 views
Film & Theatre
207 views

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist

Olek Młyński - September 18, 2018

One key film in the development of anyone who grew up in the early 2000s was The Incredibles (2004). It’s comedy, vibrancy, and general sense of fun…

France in Fine Fettle
Sports
232 views
Sports
232 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Prior to the start of the quadrennial tournament this summer, football fans across the world grew sceptical over Russia’s credentials and ability to host the most prestigious…

Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
231 views
Arts
231 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Boredom is impossible when you throw yourself into everything this weird and wonderful city has to offer. The specific and unique cultural wonders of Brighton are indeed…

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
262 views
Arts
262 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

During this year’s Pride Festival, Brighton had the honour of welcoming international pop star and voice of the early 2000s, Britney Spears, to the main stage. Undoubtedly,…

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
1326 views1
Campus News
1326 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

New Aldi Creates Jobs and Traffic Problems
News
17 views
News
17 views

New Aldi Creates Jobs and Traffic Problems

Jessica Hubbard - October 20, 2018

The new Lewes Road branch of ALDI has opened to the public. Its first customers received free fruit and vegetables and the store has proved popular since.…

BCU Black Studies Degree Talk
Campus News
20 views
Campus News
20 views

BCU Black Studies Degree Talk

Matthew Nicholls - October 20, 2018

Students are due to give a talk about the UK’s first black studies degree as part of Sussex University’s Black History Month events. The free event, which…

Go See a String Quartet: Globally Renowned Artists Play for Free on Campus
Culture
116 views
Culture
116 views

Go See a String Quartet: Globally Renowned Artists Play for Free on Campus

Ketan Jha - October 19, 2018

Classical music can be obtuse. It is easy, especially at free concerts occupied largely by octogenarians, to get lost between movements and melodies. This is especially true…

Bliss Signal Album Review
Music
48 views
Music
48 views

Bliss Signal Album Review

Ryan Bridgewater - October 18, 2018

  CD/Vinyl/Download At first glance, the worlds of black metal and electronic dance music do not seem to have very much in common. The former is characterised…

New Student Energy Project Launches at Sussex
Campus News
27 views
Campus News
27 views

New Student Energy Project Launches at Sussex

Jessica Hubbard - October 18, 2018

A new Student Energy Project has started at Sussex. The project is run in collaboration with The Student Energy Project, the University Sustainability team and Sussex Students’…

Name Changes Made Easier for Students
Campus News
35 views
Campus News
35 views

Name Changes Made Easier for Students

Matthew Nicholls - October 18, 2018

The University of Sussex will now accept unenrolled deed polls as proof of name change to those who wish, granting more freedom and anonymity to those in…

Sentences Quashed for Fracking Protestors
News
50 views
News
50 views

Sentences Quashed for Fracking Protestors

Jessica Hubbard - October 17, 2018

The court of appeal has quashed sentences handed to 3 fracking protestors calling them "manifestly excessive". Jail sentences of 15- 16 months were given to the three…

In Conversation with Peter Tatchell: Gender, Direct Action and Brexit
News
60 views
News
60 views

In Conversation with Peter Tatchell: Gender, Direct Action and Brexit

Jessica Hubbard - October 17, 2018

Veteran human rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell, gave a talk on campus. Known for his work with the LGBTQ+ community, he spoke about free speech under attack and…

NUS Backs ‘People’s Vote’
News
38 views
News
38 views

NUS Backs ‘People’s Vote’

kenyon55 - October 17, 2018

The NUS has expressed its support for a national referendum on the final Brexit deal, also referred to as a ‘People’s Vote’. This came after Labour MPs…

Over 1,000 Sign Sussex Fracking Open Letter
Campus News
37 views
Campus News
37 views

Over 1,000 Sign Sussex Fracking Open Letter

Jessica Hubbard - October 17, 2018

An open letter started by Sussex academics has gained over 1,000 signatures. The letter, entitled ‘Open letter from UK academics: The harsh sentencing of anti-fracking campaigners sets…

Grenfell Tower Inquiry Resumes
National News
76 views
National News
76 views

Grenfell Tower Inquiry Resumes

Jessica Hubbard - October 16, 2018

Written by Danielle Ball Shocking witness statements have been heard from the fire crew and call handlers involved in the response to the tragedy The Grenfell Tower…

Renting Unaffordable for Young People
National News
57 views
National News
57 views

Renting Unaffordable for Young People

Jessica Hubbard - October 16, 2018

South East among the most expensive areas to rent as revealed by BBC research. Research carried out by The BBC has found that renting is unaffordable for…

Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns
Music
69 views
Music
69 views

Joe Armon-Jones Brings Jazz to Patterns

Lara Antoine - October 13, 2018

Photo by Vojta Dvrocek Whether you’ve seen him in Ezra Collective or featuring alongside other breakthrough neo-jazz artists like Mr Jukes. Pianist Joe Armon-Jones is no stranger…

“Climax” review – The return of the French provocateur
Arts
74 views
Arts
74 views

“Climax” review – The return of the French provocateur

Olek Młyński - October 11, 2018

The newest film from the notorious Gaspar Noé was so critically acclaimed at the Cannes Film Festival that the director himself could not believe it. Climax opens…