Do inmates deserve to maintain their right to vote?
Universal Suffrage is the concept that states every adult citizen capable of voting should have the right and opportunities to vote. In most modern democracies, the right to vote is considered as the most basic fundamental right of every human being. But what happens if one commits a crime? Despite the important value attached to this right, there appears to be a strong prevalent perception that prisoners forfeit their right to vote by their incarceration and that the disenfranchisement of felons is indeed a necessary and justified punishment along with inevitable sentencing. Giving prisoners the right to vote has created huge controversy within the UK; a question of morality which has sparked a huge democratic debate. There are around 88,249 individuals in the UK behind bars, grieving the bereavement of their right to vote and knowing that they will never make any significant contribution to the world. Prisoners, no matter the severity of the offense, are still human beings who should have the freedom to enjoy basic rights. Would you deny felons the right to food and water? Would you deny them the right to shelter? Just as these rights would not be deprived of these people, neither should the right to vote. As we consider the justification for restricting the democratically entrenched right to vote of prisoners based on their status as criminals, it is also important to contemplate that not all crimes merit the same form of punishment.