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Our mission

Why do we exist?

About Unlock, in brief.

  • Unlock is a charity founded 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 support those who have desisted from crime to live a law-abiding life.
  • We believe people want to lead a positive life and when opportunity unleashes their potential they contribute great things.
  • We believe the ultimate solutions to crime lay in social, not criminal justice. Desistance from crime is a by-product of a complex long-term process of identity change and the achievement of potential.
  • We focus on the long-term disadvantage of convictions, impacting on individuals and their families, organisations and communities, and society.
  • We work in partnership, and with volunteers, to achieve outcomes at both the individual and systemic level.

Our vision

“A fair and inclusive society where people with criminal records can move on positively in their lives”

Our mission

To help people overcome the long-term disadvantages caused by their criminal records, and work with government,  employers and others to enable people to move on positively in their lives.

Our objectives

  1. People moving on positively in their lives – individuals have the knowledge, skills, confidence and support to overcome the long-term disadvantages caused by their criminal record.
  2. A fairer and more inclusive society – government, employers and others have policies, practices and attitudes that support fair treatment of people with criminal records.

Read our strategic plan 2021-26 to find out more about how we will achieve these objectives

Why are we needed?

  • Society asks ‘criminals’ to become productive citizens; get education, find work, support their family and pay tax. People who reform themselves seek to do this.
  • Law abiding people with convictions face long-term discrimination and exclusion from the basics of life including employment, housing, travel, and financial services. For example, employers admit to seeking criminal record information for two-thirds of vacancies and rejecting ‘ex-offenders’ for up to 90% of vacancies.
  • Almost 12 million people in the UK have a criminal record.
  • One in three men (and almost one in ten women) has a conviction by the age of 53.
  • 26% of the 4.9 million claimants of out of work benefits are people with criminal records.
  • Long-term discrimination means the end of a sentence is only the beginning of a life with a criminal record.

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12 million people have criminal records in the UK. We need your help to help them.

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