Citizen convicts

Prisoners, politics and the vote

By Cormac Behan

Citizen convicts


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-1697-0
  • Pages: 240
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £25.50
  • Published Date: July 2017
  • BIC Category: Sociology, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Elections, Society & social sciences / Society & culture: general, Society & social sciences / Elections & referenda, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology, Offenders


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.


1. Citizenship by civic virtue?
2. Prisoners and the politics of enfranchisement
3. Political change, penal continuity and prisoner enfranchisement
4. Voting and political engagement
5. Prisoners' perspectives on politics
6. Imprisonment, civic engagement and community participation
7. Citizen or convict?


Cormac Behan is Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Sheffield

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