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Prisoner enfranchisement remains one of the few contested electoral issues in twenty-first-century democracies. It is at the intersection of punishment and representative government. Many jurisdictions remain divided on whether or not prisoners should be allowed access to the franchise. This book investigates the experience of prisoner enfranchisement in the Republic of Ireland. It examines the issue in a comparative context, beginning by locating prisoner enfranchisement in a theoretical framework, exploring the arguments for and against allowing prisoners to vote. Drawing on global developments in jurisprudence and penal policy, it examines the background to, and wider significance of, this change in the law. Using the Irish experience to examine the issue in a wider context, this book argues that the legal position concerning the voting rights of the imprisoned reveals wider historical, political and social influences in the treatment of those confined in penal institutions.
Prisoners’ Rights: Principles and Practice considers prisoners’ rights from socio-legal and philosophical perspectives, and assesses the advantages and problems of a rights-based approach to imprisonment. At a time of record levels of imprisonment and projected future expansion of the prison population, this work is timely. The discussion in this book is not confined to a formal legal analysis, although it does include discussion of the developing jurisprudence on prisoners’ rights. It offers a socio-legal rather than a purely black letter approach, and focuses on the experience of imprisonment. It draws on perspectives from a range of disciplines to illuminate how prisoners’ rights operate in practice. The text also contributes to debates on imprisonment and citizenship, the treatment of women prisoners, and social exclusion. This book will be of interest to both undergraduate and postgraduate students of penology and criminal justice, as well as professionals working within the penal system.
Edited by David Brown (Professor of Law, University of NSW) and Meredith Wilkie (Director, Race Discrimination Unit, Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission) As prison populations continue to expand across the western world the question of the rights of prisoners has become an increasingly pressing issue, particularly in the light of new human rights discourses. This important new book gives voice to a diverse range of viewpoints arising out of this debate in the Australian context, while the issues raised will have powerful echoes elsewhere. The contributors to this book include the prisoners themselves, human rights activists, academics, criminal justice policy makers and practitioners. Overall the book presents a powerful argument that prisoners do and should have rights in any society that professes to be a democracy, bringing to the fore a debate that society would often prefer to forget.
Through the compelling words of former prisoners, Convicted and Condemned examines the lifelong consequences of a felony conviction. Felony convictions restrict social interactions and hinder felons’ efforts to reintegrate into society. The educational and vocational training offered in many prisons are typically not recognized by accredited educational institutions as acceptable course work or by employers as valid work experience, making it difficult for recently-released prisoners to find jobs. Families often will not or cannot allow their formerly incarcerated relatives to live with them. In many states, those with felony convictions cannot receive financial aid for further education, vote in elections, receive welfare benefits, or live in public housing. In short, they are not treated as full citizens, and every year, hundreds of thousands of people released from prison are forced to live on the margins of society. Convicted and Condemned explores the issue of prisoner reentry from the felons’ perspective. It features the voices of formerly incarcerated felons as they attempt to reconnect with family, learn how to acclimate to society, try to secure housing, find a job, and complete a host of other important goals. By examining national housing, education and employment policies implemented at the state and local levels, Keesha Middlemass shows how the law challenges and undermines prisoner reentry and creates second-class citizens. Even if the criminal justice system never convicted another person of a felony, millions of women and men would still have to figure out how to reenter society, essentially on their own. A sobering account of the after-effects of mass incarceration, Convicted and Condemned is a powerful exploration of how individuals, and society as a whole, suffer when a felony conviction exacts a punishment that never ends.
This book identifies key elements of an international framework to develop systems-level change to promote access to education, including higher education, for socio-economically marginalized groups. It is based on interviews with senior government officials and senior management in universities, non formal education and prisons across 12 countries in Europe. The book identifies systemic obstacles to and opportunities for promotion of access to education for socio-economically excluded groups that are issues transferable to other countries’ contexts. It adopts a systemic focus on access across a range of domains of education, both formal higher education and non-formal education, as well as prison education. Through a focus on a more dynamic structuralist systems framework it develops an innovative post-Bronfenbrennerian view of system levels in lifespan developmental and educational psychology. It also develops an international agenda for reform in relation to these various system levels for access to education for socio-economically marginalized groups, through extraction of key structural indicators to evaluate reform progress in a transparent, culturally sensitive manner. The book identifies current gaps and strengths in policy, practice and structures that impact upon access to education, including higher education, across a range of countries. These gaps and strengths are illustrative and are to inform a strategic approach to system level change and development for the promotion of access to education for socio-economically marginalized groups in Europe and beyond. “Too many educational practices entrench social exclusion: it is an urgent priority across Europe that social justice policies are implemented for the inclusion of marginalised groups. Paul Downes' analysis of these issues is timely. His conclusions are considered and practical: this book is a valuable and constructive resource for practitioners, academics and the policy community.” Professor Alistair Ross, Jean Monnet ad Personam Professor of Citizenship Education in Europe, Emeritus Professor of Education, Institute for Policy Studies in Education, London Metropolitan University
A thought-provoking look at one population's loss of voting rights in the United States.

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