THERE has been a lot of response regarding the decision made allowing prisoners to vote. What the public forgets is that the constitution of the Republic of South Africa gives South African citizens with IDs the right to vote – whether they are in prison or not.
Imprisonment for a crime denotes a restriction on freedom of movement and mobility, it does not denote the loss of citizenship, political or even human rights.
For this reason, Nicro supported an application to the Constitutional Court to reinstate the right of prisoners to vote.
The vast majority of prisoners are eventually released back into society. While in prison they should be coached about how to develop into a constructive citizen and contribute to the social, political and economic life of the society – participation in the democratic process of voting contributes to this.
The public is focused on punishment and retribution – these elements are contained in the actual coerced incarceration of the prisoner in a prison. It would also be unfair to withhold voting rights of prisoners, but those that receive other non-custodial forms of sentencing, such as fines, suspended sentences or community service, are not subject to the same restriction.
For more information on Nicro and how you can support our programmes, contact:
Jacques Sibomana, communication and marketing manager, Nicro