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Citizen convictsPrisoners, politics and the vote$
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Cormac Behan

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780719088384

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719088384.001.0001

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Enfranchisement –the prisoner as citizen

Enfranchisement –the prisoner as citizen

(p.124) 5 Enfranchisement –the prisoner as citizen
Citizen convicts

Cormac Behan

Manchester University Press

This chapter examines the experience of enfranchisement based on interviews with fifty prisoners. Their narratives are used rather than the raw statistical data, usually associated with opinion polls and electoral surveys. It begins with an examination of topics such as prisoners and the vote, motivation behind political participation and the government decision on enfranchisement. The experience of postal voting, the facilities available, the election campaign (or lack of) within the prison walls are discussed. It concludes with some suggestions from prisoners about the desirability of deeper political and civic engagement. As this was the first occasion to interview prisoners after the 2007 general election, the decision to vote and identification with the electoral process were prominent themes The perspectives of prisoners are rarely heard in public policy discussions; especially criminal justice debates. The purpose of this chapter is to allow prisoners to give their perspectives on politics and civic engagement with the emphasis on their voices being heard.

Keywords:   Prisoner perspectives, Prisoner as citizen, Prisoner enfranchisement

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