Now, I don’t want to be too controversial but I was under the impression that the criminal justice system in this country operated on a prevention and punishment premise. Prisons exist traditionally to remove liberty from convicted criminals. The deprivation of liberty is understood to be the most severe penalty in a system that no longer condones capital punishment. Prisons exist also to act as a warning therefore, to citizens to stay away from crime or they will be punished accordingly.
I am confused then as to why the possibility of allowing prisoners the right to vote has even made it as far as being considered and debated by the media.
The right to vote is something that some sections of society, throughout history, have had to fight for long and hard, succeeding only through sheer determination and the conviction that as free citizens it is their right.
The same cannot and should not be said of convicted criminals. If a person has been barred from living in society because of their unlawful conduct, how is it logical to permit that same person to have a say in the way in which that society is run?
Moreover, what use is a punishment as a preventative method against crime if it is not serious enough to impress upon free citizens the importance of abiding by the rules and conduct that is written in law as a result of fair debate, historical precedent and common sense?
The function of prisons as rehabilitative is becoming overstated. This one is a big idea, no doubt, but it’s a bad one.