Dr Cormac Behan gives evidence to Scottish Parliament on prisoner enfranchisement

Photo of Dr Cormac BehanDr Cormac Behan was invited to give oral evidence to the Equalities and Human Rights Committee of the Scottish Parliament on 25th January 2018. The Committee is considering the issue of prisoner enfranchisement. Under the Scotland Act 2016, the Scottish Parliament now has the power to organise elections and decide on the franchise for the Scottish Parliament along with local government elections.

Prisoner enfranchisement has been a matter of some debate in the United Kingdom since the Hirst judgment in the European Court of Human Rights in 2005. The Court ruled that the blanket ban on prisoner voting contravened the European Convention on Human Rights. In November 2017, the Justice Secretary, David Lidington gave the UK government's response to this ruling. He informed the House of Commons that there would be a change in Prison Service Guidance which will allow approximately 100 of the 86,000 prisoners in England and Wales to vote, if they are registered at their home address and released on temporary licence (ROTL) on election day.

The Equalities and Human Rights Committee is taking evidence from a range of opinions and will report back to the Scottish Parliament in due course.

Cormac Behan's oral evidence to the session can be accessed here

Further media coverage:

Scottish TV

The Scotsman

Daily Record