Scottish Liberal Democrats will tomorrow (Thursday 18th June) lead the debate on an amendment to the Scottish Elections (Reduction of Voting Age Bill) which could extend the voting franchise to some young offenders.
The amendment, put forward by Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Alison McInnes, would enable Scottish Government minsters to decide the circumstances in which a person aged 16 or 17 in a penal institution may be able to vote in future Scottish and local government elections.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s debate, Ms McInnes said:
“Allowing certain prisoners a vote can be an important step in encouraging them to take greater responsibility and to play a more positive role as they prepare to re-join the community.
“The primary aim of prison is rehabilitation. But if we are serious about building a fairer society then we must give prisoners opportunity to engage with society before they leave.
“My proposals give MSPs an opportunity to debate what kind of society we want to be. It is great that we are closer to giving 16 and 17 year olds the vote but we must also consider young people who are too often trapped in the criminal justice system.
“I hope MSPs from all parties can have a considered debate about my amendment. Scottish Liberal Democrats believe it will build a more liberal, fairer society.”