No way we should give prisoners the vote

Prison cell. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Prison cell. Photo: Paul Faith/PA Wire

It is not often, in fact this is the first time it has happened publicly, that I find myself agreeing with UKIP.

But here goes...

MEP Paul Nuttall issued a statement last week slamming the fact some prisoners might be in line for up to £5,000 in compensation.

Have they been made ill by the food?

Er, no.

Have they been badly treated by prison officers?

Er, no again.

Have they been denied access to fresh air for an hour a day?

Not on this occasion.

No, they have been denied the right to vote in elections.

And as Mr Nuttall quite rightly points out in his press statement: “Those put behind bars by the courts have broken their contract with society and forfeited their right to vote.”

And he adds: “It is plainly wrong that law breakers can choose the law makers.”

Now if my understanding of the rights of a prisoner are correct, the amount of access they have to telephones or the internet would make it pretty difficult for them to help decide which warbler is going to win this year’s X-Factor.

So why should they be allowed to decide who runs the local council, county council, government or European parliament?

The vast majority of people behind bars are there for some pretty good reasons.

They are estranged from society for a reason, cut off from the normal rights of the normal person for whichever misdemeanour has landed them behind bars.

Following Mr Nuttall’s theme, they have been denied a whole series of “rights” that we law-abiding citizens take for granted.

In my view they have just about as many rights as they need – or probably deserve.

Giving them compensation of up to £1,000 a year for denying them the vote is just plain wrong.

It is a wrong as the notion, that some of our European neighbours uphold, of giving prisoners the vote in the first place.

I know some people went to prison in the fight for universal suffrage.

But I am sure not even they would have expected to vote while behind bars!