Response 775901926

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Questions

1. Do you think that prisoners’ right to vote in Scottish Parliament and Local Government elections should be linked to the length of their sentence?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No

2. If your answer to Question 1 is ‘no’, what would be your preferred approach to extending prisoners’ voting rights?

If your answer to Question 1 is ‘no’, what would be your preferred approach to extending prisoners’ voting rights?
YES - If 12 months or less, then this ties in well with summary sentencing. However, there are many incidences of cases being ‘kept’ and then prosecuted at one time, resulting in consecutive sentences well over 12 months (proposal states these people will be excluded). This may be problematic, as certain individuals would be excessively punished through disenfranchisement for multiple minor offences when a more serious (harmful) offence does not result in disenfranchisement. NO – the arbitrary nature of sentencing varies significantly across the country. The individual ethical/moral values of certain sentencers could impact on sentencing. This only works if sentencing is fair and proportionate.

3. If your answer to Question 1 is ‘yes’, what length of sentence would be appropriate as the eligibility threshold for prisoner voting rights?

Please select one item
12 months or less
6 months or less
Ticked Another duration

4. If your answer to the above is ‘another duration’, please specify this here.

If your answer to the above is ‘another duration’, please specify this here.
Options: • Anyone sentenced to 6 months or less should have the automatic right to vote • Anyone sentenced to 12 months or less retains their right to vote • Any other custodial sentence results in re-enfranchisement. For example, when they have completed half of their custodial term • All long-term prisoners should be given the right to vote from the time that they are no longer deemed as presenting a risk to the public - this will be on positive progression through the estate (moving from closed to open facilities) OR when Parole has been granted. • In all cases the SPS should, at reception, be responsible for informing every prisoner of their critical enfranchisement date

5. Do you have any comments on the practicalities of prisoner voting?

Do you have any comments on the practicalities of prisoner voting?
Practicalities include: • Voting for home constituency or area they are imprisoned in? Administration of this may be problematic. • Each prison could have a returning officer and clerk as in polling stations.

6. Do you have any other comments that have not been captured in the responses you have provided above?

Do you have any other comments that have not been captured in the responses you have provided above?
The consultation document would suggest that it is looking to implement the easiest option that fits with ECHR rather than the one that is fairest to prisoners, victims and communities. The discrepancy in short and long-term sentence length does not fit with a 12-month or less timeframe. • We should be imposing a custodial sentence only where the behaviour is prolific, increasing in seriousness/severity, harm has been caused and/or there is a clear failure to respect the rule of law/one’s civic responsibility • Current contempt, default and remand prisoners can vote so systems exist – the consultation talks of the complexities of putting anything, not based on sentence length, in place. Not sure if this is correct. • The concept of rehabilitation is not considered where there is a blanket ban or permission for voting. All custodial sentences should have rehabilitation at their heart • Consideration should be given to seriousness and recidivism rather than penalty/sentence imposed

About you

Are you responding as an individual or an organisation?

Please select one item
(Required)
Individual
Ticked Organisation

What is your organisation?

Organisation
East Lothian Council