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Inquiry into voting rights for prisoners

 

The Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee is undertaking an inquiry into voting rights for prisoners.

 

Terms of reference

 

The Committee’s terms of reference for its inquiry are to consider:

 

  • Arguments for and against giving some or all prisoners the right to vote in Welsh elections, and whether distinctions might be drawn between different categories of prisoner on the basis of sentence length, expected date of release, or types of offence;
  •  Practical issues, such as electoral registration (including address), voting method, prisoner engagement with the political process, the provision of political and citizenship information and education;
  • Cross-border issues arising from prisoners from Wales being imprisoned in England and vice versa;
  • Whether special considerations apply to young offenders in custody if the franchise is extended to 16 and 17 year olds generally, and
  • Other countries’ approaches to prisoner voting.

 

Evidence Gathering

The Committee held a number of evidence sessions to inform the work of the Committee, which can be viewed in the table below. Additionally, the Committee consulted on this topic.

 

 

Evidence session

Date, agenda, minutes

Transcript

Video

1.    Wales Governance Centre

Dr Robert Jones, Research Associate, Wales Governance Centre

 

Dr Greg Davies, Research Associate, Wales Governance Centre

23 January 2019

Read transcript

Watch on Senedd.TV

2.    Prison Reform Trust

Mark Day, Head of Policy and Communications, Prison Reform Trust

23 January 2019

Read transcript

Watch on Senedd.TV

3.     Safer Wales

Bernie Bowen-Thompson, Chief Executive, Safer Wales

 

20 February 2019

Read transcript

Watch on Senedd TV

4.    Youth Justice Board

Darren Trollope

20 February 2019

Read transcript

Watch on Senedd TV

5.    Electoral Commission in Wales and Association of Electoral Administrators

Elan Closs Stephens CBE, Electoral Commissioner, in Wales

Rhydian Thomas, Head of Electoral Commission, Electoral Commission in Wales

 

Rhys George, Chair of the Wales Branch of the Association of Electoral Administrators

 

Amanda Bebb, Deputy Chair of the Wales Branch of the Association of Electoral Administrators

 

Peter Stanyon, Chief Executive, Association of Electoral Administrators

7 March 2019

Read transcript

Watch on Senedd TV

6.    Victims’ Commissioner

Baroness Newlove, Victims’ Commissioner

7 March 2019

Read transcript

Watch on Senedd TV

7.    Minister for Housing and Local Government

Julie James, Minister for Housing and Local Government


Lisa James, Deputy Director, Local Government Democracy Division


Gareth Thomas, Policy Adviser, Electoral Reform (Local Government Division)

27 March 2019

Read transcript

Watch on Senedd TV

 

Report

 

The Committee published its report: Voting Rights for Prisoners (PDF, 1MB) on Tuesday 11 June. On publication of the report, John Griffiths AM, Chair of the Committee said:

 

“Prisoner voting is an emotive issue. There are strong views for and against. We have strived to ensure all sides are heard and carefully considered. The weight of evidence we received in writing, during prison visits and at committee meetings was clearly in favour of giving prisoners the vote. And in the main it supported extending the franchise to all prisoners.”

 

A short video based on the report can be viewed below.

 

YouTube-Here https://www.youtube.com/embed/leQZfXZsqUI

 

The Welsh Government (PDF, 129KB) and Assembly Commission (PDF, 270KB) published their responses to the Committee’s report on voting rights for prisoners on 24 July 2019. The report and responses will be debated in Plenary on 25 September 2019.

 

A debate on the report is due to be held on Wednesday 25 September 2019.

 

Keeping in touch

 

If you'd like to know more about the work of the Equality, Local Government and Communities, please view its homepage, follow its Twitter account or contact the team that supports the Committee at SeneddCommunities@assembly.wales

Business type: Committee Inquiry

Reason considered: Assembly Business;

Status: For consideration

First published: 12/11/2018

Documents

Consultations

 

 

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