Unlock was founded in 1998, by a group of former prisoners who wanted to use their experience so that people with convictions would have better opportunities to move on in their lives. We've come a long way since then, supporting thousands of individuals as they navigate life with a criminal record - and changing laws to make the system fairer.Scroll to see some of our highlights so far
2000: 'UNLOCK, National Association of Ex-offenders Limited' is registered as a charity
2004: Lord Ramsbotham GCB, CBE becomes Unlock's President
2005: Unlock launches a pilot project to provide access to bank accounts for those leaving prison
By the end of the project in 2014, 114 prisons now had links with high street banks. Read more.
2009: The first pilot of the Unlock forum launches
2010: We launch our volunteering scheme with HMPs East Sutton Park & Blantyre House
2011: Unlock wins at the Guardian Charity Awards
2014: Unlock introduces disclosure training
We’ve since trained thousands of professionals – find out more about our courses.
2014: Changes to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) come into force, enabling more convictions to become spent
2015: Recruit! - our website for employers - launches
Visit Recruit! for practical guidance to help you recruit fairly.
2015: 'Enforced subject access request' becomes a criminal offence after campaigning by Unlock
Read about the campaign, and the work we’re doing to ensure the law is enforced.
2016: Unlock wins the Longford Prize
2019: The Supreme Court rules that changes to the filtering regime must be made, following an intervention from Unlock
2019: Unlock's Fair Admissions Pledge launches to improve access to higher education
2020: Unlock wins 'outstanding national organisation' at Criminal Justice Alliance Awards
Find out more about the award, which recognised our work on changes to filtering rules.
2020: Changes to filtering rules come into effect
Thousands more people now have clear Enhanced DBS checks and can move on from their past. Read our response.
2021: Unlock celebrates its 21st Birthday
We also launched our ambitious strategic plan for 2021-26: ‘Tackling injustice, changing lives’.