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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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Imprisonment and citizenship

Imprisonment and citizenship

(p.175) 7 Imprisonment and citizenship
Citizen convicts

Cormac Behan

Manchester University Press

This chapter brings the book to a close by making the case that enfranchisement is one element, albeit an important one, within wider spheres of prisoners rights and opportunities for participative citizenship. It outlines the challenges for prisoners in embracing the franchise and makes some suggestions about how to re-engage a section of the population disconnected from society and disillusioned with political and civic institutions. If the goal of enfranchisement is inclusion and allowing prisoners to participate as citizens, more needs to be done to achieve this, both within and without the prison. Encouraging prisoners to participate as citizens, with opportunities and meaningful spaces in their community on a daily basis rather than just on election day offers the potential for lived citizenship. However, this necessitates reframing penal policy, reimagining the role of imprisonment and re-conceptualising enfranchisement, regarding it as not merely enabling prisoners to vote, but rather as part of a process of engaging and empowering citizens.

Keywords:   Prison governance, Prisoner representation, Prisoner engagement, Re-imagining imprisonment, Re-conceptualising enfranchisement

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