Argumentative essay on prison overcrowding


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I would sooner give foreigners who weren't in prison the vote than give it to conficts. A right to vote is not a right to change the laws in society. Democrats would love to advocate that this is the case but quite simply it is not. Politicians will not change laws on the basis of a few prisoner votes.


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We must also not forget that those who are in prion are not necessarily guilty. They may be suffering from a miscarriage of justice. In addition, there will be people in prison who only committed menial offences which are not enough of a good reason to remove their right to vote in a society that classes itself as liberal. Politicans aiming for the "prisoner vote" Giving prisoners the vote might cause politicians to start appealing to the "prisoner vote".

We could see politicians offering reduced custodial times as a party pledge. This is very unlikely to be the case.

Politicians are all about appealing to the majority. Compare this to the Bearing these figures in mind, it is not feasible that a politician would appeal to the prisoner vote.

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Police could influence their votes The thing that we have to worry about in giving prisoners the right to vote is the possibility of the police influencing their votes. Given that the prison is such a closed away building from society as it is, how can we ensure that the votes cast in the prisons are legitimate? Any unused votes could be used by office guards themselves. Alternatively, police could exert undue influence over the prisoners and how they vote.

Prisoners could be enticed to vote a certain way. This serves no purpose than giving the police more votes than they are entitled to. This could happen at any given polling station but it doesn't.


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These measures are being introduced as the European Court of Human Rights considers a blanket ban on voting for prisoners as a breach of human rights. It is likely therefore that the Government will introduce many procedural safeguards to ensure that the voting rights are exercised in a similar fashion to the ones outside of prison.

Only then will they be fully meeting the expectations of the Human Rights Court which they do not wish to contravene. Prisoners have forfeited the right to vote by breaking the law Voting is a privilege, not a right, and people in prison has shown they are not worthy of that privilege by breaking the law in the first place. Is it not oxymoronic to grant someone who has broken the law a privilege granted by the law?

If prisoners are unsatisfied with their condition, they should not have got there in the first place, and they have only themselves to blame. If they believe their sentence is too long, then perhaps we should consider changing some other laws, but not grant this one. Would you give someone who has recently blown someone else up the privilege of voting for the leader of our community? What kind of leaders do we want? Yes because This argument takes an extreme example to prove its point. However, if we take a look at those in prison, the majority have not 'blown people up'.

These do not include sexual offences or murder.

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They do include minor attacks. How can we equate these minor offences with that of blowing things up? Why should people who get involved in fights be deprived of the right to vote, just the same as a murderer or arsonist? It will cost the tax payer money! The move to change legislation to allow most members of the prison population to vote will cost the tax payer in administration costs. Not only will we have to pay the costs of the legislation going through both Houses of Parliament and then being sent to draftsmen and then finally to the Queen.

Not only will the taxpayer have to pay these costs, but they will also have to pay the costs of implementation.

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Prisoners will have to be escorted to their voting places, then their votes will have to be collected and counted. This would be such a lengthy procedure. It would be much easier to not change the laws and not allow them to vote. Oh dear, what if people had this view before women had the vote? Money should be of no concern when we are dealing with justice and rights.

This would costs the UK Taxpayer far more than the implementation of the correct rights in the first place. It would ruin constituencies The judgment does not actually mean that prisoners have to have the vote as under the European Convention the right to vote is a very qualified right. Up until there was a blanket ban, but now people on remand before conviction or sentence can vote because they have a home address. It would be unfair that a whole prison's worth of voters could sway a council or a general election because the prison is so large it would affect the constituency size and count as a large part of the voters in the constituency and it would marginalise the votes of law abiding citizens in constituencies.

This would be easily circumvented by making the prisoners votes count towards the constituency they last resided in before their custodial sentence. That way, there would not be an over concentration of prisoner votes in constituencies with large prisons. Should people serving prison sentences be permitted to vote in elections? All the Yes points:. In most cases, the punishment doesn't fit the crime. Those who have a proven negetive impact on society should not have a say on how it is run.

Overcrowded: The Messy Politics of CA's Prison Crisis

All the No points:. Prisoners have forfeited the right to vote by breaking the law. Therefore, improving access to justice, supporting legal and paralegal aid programmes, improving information management and cooperation between courts and prisons, to speed up the processing of cases, as well as assisting with the development of safeguards for pre-trial detainees, such as independent monitoring and inspection mechanisms, comprise important elements of UNODC's work in the field of penal reform.


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  4. In order for a prison system to be managed in a fair and humane manner, national legislation, policies and practices must be guided by the international standards developed to protect the human rights of prisoners. Prison authorities have a responsibility to ensure that the supervision and treatment of prisoners is in line with the rule of law, with respect to individuals' human rights, and that the period of imprisonment is used to prepare individuals for life outside prison following release.

    But often national legislation and rules relating to the management of prisons are outdated and in need of reform. In many countries the prison department is under the authority of police or military institutions and managers and staff have received no specific training regarding prison management. Staff morale is usually low and effective leadership to drive prison reform is lacking. Information collection and management systems are also very inadequate or non-existent in many prison systems worldwide, hindering the development of sound policies and strategies based on reliable, factual data.

    UNODC can provide much assistance in reforming national legislation, developing training programmes for prison managers to improve their leadership role and staff to apply international standards and norms in their daily practice, and by contributing to the institutional capacity building of prison administrations. Overcrowding is a key concern in almost all prison systems worldwide, while punitive criminal policies, as well as a shortage of social protection services in the community, continue to contribute to the rapid growth of the prison population in many countries.

    Extract of sample "Prison Overcrowding"

    As mentioned earlier, overcrowding is the root cause of many human rights violations in prisons. Solutions to overcrowding need to be explored and implemented in almost all countries in which UNODC is operational. While overcrowding can be temporarily decreased by building new prisons, practice shows that trying to overcome the harmful effects of prison overcrowding through the construction of new prisons does not provide a sustainable solution.

    In addition, building new prisons and maintaining them is expensive, putting pressure on valuable resources. Instead, numerous international instruments recommend a rationalization in sentencing policy, including the wider use of alternatives to prison, aiming to reduce the number of people being isolated from society for long periods. The use of non-custodial sanctions and measures also reflects a fundamental change in the approach to crime, offenders and their place in society, changing the focus of penitentiary measures from punishment and isolation, to restorative justice and reintegration.

    Prison Reform and Alternatives to Imprisonment

    When accompanied by adequate support for offenders, it assists some of the most vulnerable members of society to lead a life without having to relapse back into criminal behavior patterns. Thus, the implementation of penal sanctions within the community, rather than through a process of isolation from it, offers in the long term better protection for society. Supporting the introduction and implementation of non-custodial sanctions and measures is therefore a key element of UNODC's work in the area of prison reform.

    One of the principle objectives of the United Nations in the area of prison reform is to contribute to the successful reintegration of prisoners into society following their release. Social reintegration initiatives should start as early as possible within the criminal justice process in order to have maximum effect. This means that diversion from the criminal justice process especially of vulnerable groups to appropriate treatment programmes, non-custodial sanctions, instead of isolation from society and purposeful activities and programmes in prisons, can all be considered as elements of a comprehensive "social reintegration" policy.

    Interventions to support former prisoners following release from prison, continuum of care in the community for those in need, will all be more effective if the period in prison is used to prepare a prisoner for re-entry to society.

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