On Inmates Voting Liberal....
You know, it's important to have compassion towards those that reside in correctional institutions. Not all inmates are murderers or rapists. Some have honestly done something wrong, realise it, and are trying to pay out their time.
They don't deserve to be treated like animals or to be opressed.
That being said, in a responsible honest society, we must believe in justice. True justice is not punishement. That's revenge. True justice is preventing wrongs from being done again - or at least doing our best at that.
When it comes to many crimes that means removing the offender from society. We take away his right to freedom to go where he chooses, for a period in time. We hope that this will either act as a deterent to others from commiting that crime, or that this will provide time for him to consider what he has done. In other cases, jails serve as a place for people that will re-offend unless they kept away under lock and key. Sometimes, that is the only way of guaranteeing justice - of guaranteeing that the crime will never be done again.
Ignoring the other issues right now surrounding inmates, justice and the correctional system, the issue of voting rights for criminals to me seems pretty clear. For someone that has committed a crime, I'd think it should be reasonable to take away certain rights of his, to try to prevent that person from committing crimes again. Afterall we already do that.
And I think the right to vote is a small right to take away. Giving prisoners the right to decide the future of the country seems like an odd way to rehabilitate prisoners. Even in the most minor of crimes, prisoners have screwed up. By the very fact that they have commited a crime shows that. They have to reflect on that if they want to be re-habilitated I would think.
What kind of message are we sending people when we say that prisoners should be allowed a right to decide on the future of the country? We are saying that their actions, whether it be murder, rape, or something minor like theft do not show enough lack of reasonable judgement on their part to prevent them from deciding the future of millions of people.
I'm a big fan of Robert Heinlein - although I can't say I agree with him on many things. Though I can't help but think of what he would say at the proposition of allowing prisoners the right to vote. I would think he would exclaim that it would be insane to allow criminals, rapists, and most generally those people that have shown no respect for rights of others, any power at all over the future of the country. Such a thing would be a recipe for disaster, corruption, and chaos.
It's important to have compassion for prisoners, but it's another thing to give them the keys to our house, cars, jewelery boxes, and safety deposit boxes.
....Posted Sunday, January 15, 2006