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UCU statement on offender voting rights

9 February 2011 | last updated: 11 December 2015

UCU today backed calls from the justice secretary, Kenneth Clarke, for prisoners to be given the right to vote.

The union which represents prison educators said that denying offenders voting rights would be at odds with the current curriculum and discourage learners from wanting to become responsible members of society.
 
Prison educators are required to teach citizenship classes to inform offenders of their rights and responsibilities and UCU warned that stopping offenders from taking part in elections would be a disincentive for them to learn.
 
The union pointed to studies which show that prisoners who do not take part in education are three times more likely to be reconvicted than those that do*.
 
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Studies have shown that offenders who engage in learning are far less likely to re-offend and allowing them the right to vote is another step in helping them to become responsible members of society.
 
'Stopping offenders from voting is at odds with the current curriculum which places a great emphasis on the importance of citizenship and on the importance of rights and responsibilities.'

* A Social Exclusion Unit report from 2002 showed that prisoners who do not take part in education are three times more likely to be reconvicted than those that do.

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