New Joint Committee on Prisoners Voting Bill publishes call for evidence

17 May 2013

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Voting Eligibility (Prisoners) Bill has today published its call for evidence.

The Committee has been established to provide pre-legislative scrutiny of the Bill and make recommendations in a report to both Houses. The Committee’s report will then inform both Houses as they scrutinise any Bill that is brought forward.

The Committee is inviting written evidence, to be received no later than 5pm on Thursday 13 June.

The Committee in particular seeks the views of witnesses on the three options for changes to the law set out in the draft bill:

  • Disqualifying prisoners sentenced to 4 years or more in prison from voting;
  • Disqualifying prisoners sentenced more than 6 months in prison from voting; and
  • Disqualifying all prisoners serving custodial sentences from voting – a restatement of the existing ban. 

Other areas the Committee are interested in receiving evidence on include:

  • What is the historical and philosophical justification for denying prisoners the vote?
  • Why is the right to vote considered a human right?
  • Is disqualifying prisoners from voting a suitable part of their punishment?
  • Would allowing prisoners to vote have significant administrative implications for prisons or the Electoral Commission?
  • What might be the financial implications of maintaining the current ban in terms of claims by prisoners for compensation?