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Prisoner's Vote is a matter of Urgency

31st May 2010

This Article appeared on Guardian.co.uk The Observer on May 30th 2010

In March 2004, the ECHR ruled in Hirst v UK that the government's blanket ban barring sentenced prisoners from voting was unlawful. But despite the ruling, the previous government continued to consult on the issue and failed to make it law.

The committee of ministers, the body that oversees European member states' compliance with ECHR judgments, is to meet this week to discuss the UK's failure to enfranchise prisoners following the ruling.

The Prison Reform Trust, which campaigns for prisoners to be given the vote, said the government now has no choice but to introduce measures that will enfranchise inmates. "We understand from their statements that the committee of ministers at the Council of Europe takes this matter of protracted non-compliance very seriously indeed and we hope that the new coalition government will seek to put matters right without further delay," said Juliet Lyon, director of the trust.

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