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Our mission is to support & advocate for people with criminal records to be able to move on positively in their lives. Find out more

Monthly summary – January 2020

Welcome to our monthly summary for January 2020.

This provides a summary of:

  1. the latest updates to our self-help information site for people with convictions
  2. recent posts to our online magazine, theRecord
  3. discussions on our online forum
  4. other news and developments that might be of interest to people with a criminal record.

Have you stumbled across this? You can receive these updates to your inbox every month for free by signing up to our mailing list (make sure you choose to receive ‘news for people with convictions’)

Updates to our information site

Here’s a summary of updates that we’ve made recently to the information hub. There are links within each update to where you can find more information about the update. There are also links next to many of the updates, which links to threads on our online forum where you can discuss these with other people.

Work and volunteering

  • ‘Do I need to disclose my criminal record?’ tool – We’ve produced a new tool which aims to help individuals work out whether they need to disclose their criminal record to employers if they’re applying for jobs which require a basic DBS check or a standard/enhanced check.
  • Volunteering – We’ve updated this page to include new links to the list of useful contacts/websites.

About criminal records

  • Moving on: The seven criminal record stages – leaving prison – We’ve written a further article for InsideTime providing information on the key things people should be aware of at this stage of their journey through the criminal justice system.
  • Disclosure calculator step-by-step video – We’ve produced a new video which provides a step-by-step guide to using our online disclosure calculator.


  • Recently left prison – claimed Universal Credit? What do you think of the DWP’s guidance? – We’ve provided a link to a DWP survey which is looking for feedback on how effective the DWP’s guidance is for people looking to claim Universal Credit on leaving prison.

theRecord posts

Below are links to recent posts on our online magazine, theRecord. These are often linked to the practical information that we have to help give some personal experiences.

SuccessReflections on the last decade from a person with a criminal record“Stepping into 2020, I’m sure you can’t have failed to notice the huge amount of people that joined in the Instagram 10-Year Challenge, posting photographs of themselves in 2010 and then in 2020. Don’t worry I’m not going to join them, because unlike Reese Witherspoon or Tyra Banks I actually do look older not younger than I did 10 years ago …..”

Struggles and stigmaIsn’t 45 years long enough to disclose a criminal record?“I’m 65 years of age. Forty-five years ago, when I was 20 years old, I was arrested and received a conviction for two counts of possession of cannabis and was given a community order and a fine. My record has been clean ever since then …..”

Success I had to face the consequences of breaking the law, why shouldn’t local councils?“Last year I reapplied to go on the councils housing list as in 2017 I’d been refused due to my criminal conviction which was classed as ‘antisocial behaviour’. Not long after I’d made my application, I received a letter from the council saying that they were unable to process my application until I could provide evidence that I had no further convictions …..”

Discussion on our online forum

Below are links to recent posts to our online forum. If you’d like to join in the discussion but are not currently a forum member, find out how you can join here.

Differences in approach – newstart has set out his experiences of dealing with both probation and social services and the different approach they’ve taken to his reintegration into his family. Has anybody had any experiences they could share?

Universal Credit – paying loans, surviving – As a result of his conviction, khafka lost his job and has recently started to claim Universal Credit. He’s looking for any tips/guidance people can give him on surviving on benefits whilst continuing to repay his solicitors fees. Is there any advice you can offer?

Other news and developments

Below are links to other news and developments that might be of interest to people with a criminal record. For more news, check out the news and media section of our main website.

Winter 2019/20 Newsletter – What we’ve been up to

We’ve published our winter 2019/20 newsletter which provides an update of the news at Unlock in the last 3 months.

Launch of #FairChecks – A fresh start for the criminal records system

Together with the charity Transform Justice, Unlock has launched the #FairChecks movement which is calling for the government to launch a major review of the legislation on the disclosure of criminal records to reduce the length of time a record is revealed.

Blog – Join the #FairChecks movement to help get a fresh start for the criminal records system

Unlocks co-director, Christopher Stacey has written a blog setting out examples of why the criminal justice system needs to change and the importance of asking MP’s to get the government to review the current disclosure system.


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Photo of Helpline lead, Debbie Sadler
Debbie Sadler
Helpline lead

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