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SASW backs calls to rethink blanket ban on prisoners voting in referendum

SASW backed an open letter to MSPs in the Scottish Parliament expressing strong opposition to a provision of the Scottish Independence Referendum (Franchise) Bill that would bar anyone in prison from taking part in the vote.

The open letter, signed by 35 organisations and co-ordinated by the Howard League Scotland, called for a rethink on the total ban proposed for anyone held in prison at the time of the referendum on 18 September 2014 from voting. As it stands the Scottish Government is proposing to apply the bar to all prisoners even if, in the meantime, the Westminster parliament grants some prisoners voting rights in elections.

The letter, written ahead of a Stage 1 debate tomorrow (Tuesday 14 May), states: "We understand and respect that a wide variety of views exist within the Parliament and society more generally on whether some or all convicted prisoners should be able to vote. This Tuesday, we ask only that the proposal to exclude all convicted prisoners, without exception, from taking part in a decision with such significant implications for their future is subjected to full and serious debate by MSPs, reflecting the value placed in Scotland on democratic rights, social justice and the effective rehabilitation of offenders."

Read the open letter
See the briefing note