Unfair to withhold voting rights of prisoners
Categories: HEADLINES, Offenders and Ex-offenders rehabilitation
There has been a lot of response regarding the decision made to allow prisoners to vote, what the public forgets is that the constitution of the Republic of South Africa, allows South African Citizen with Identity document a right to vote, whether be that they are in prison or not.
Imprisonment for a crime denotes a restriction on freedom of movement and mobility – being confined in a facility for the duration of the sentence – it does not denote the loss of citizenship, political or even human rights.
For this reason NICRO supported an application to the Constitutional court to reinstate the right of prisoners to vote.
The vast majority of prisoners are eventually released back into society – whilst in prison they should be coached about how to develop into a constructive citizen and contribute to the social, political and economic life of the society in which they live – participation in the democratic process of voting contributes to this.
The public is focused on punishment and retribution – these elements are contained in the actual coerced incarceration of the prisoner in a prison. It would also be unfair to withhold voting rights of prisoners, but those that receive other non-custodial forms of sentencing, such as fines, suspended sentences or community service, are not subject to the same restriction.
For more information on NICRO and how you can support our programmes contact:
COMMUNICATION & MARKETING MANAGER
NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR CRIME PREVENTION AND THE REINTEGRATION OF OFFENDERS (NICRO)
Tel: 021 462 0017 • Fax: 021 462 2447 • Cell: 0833456875