UNLOCK, together with the Prison Reform Trust, launched a major new campaign at the House of Commons on 2nd March 2004, called Barred from Voting. The campaign aims to reverse the archaic law which means that serving prisoners cannot vote in local, European or Parliamentary elections.

Speaking at the launch, UNLOCK’s chief executive, Bobby Cummines FRSA and himself an ex-prisoner, said:

“The aim of our prison service must be to release ex-offenders as law-abiding citizens. But how can we make someone an upright citizen when the first thing we do is to force that person to undergo a ‘civic death’?”

“We must now set the record straight. If we want prison populations to go down and crime on the street to be reduced, prisons must be used as a place for rehabilitation where prisoners are trained to be decent citizens and that means ensuring that they know they are very much alive to society. This means equal voting rights.”