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Forum guidelines

How to use the forum

This section is designed to help people understand how to use the forum. It is designed to help explain some of the forum rules.


Who is it for?

The forum is for people with convictions. Its primary function is to provide a space where information, advice and support is given and received mutually between members.

There are other forums for professional discussions (for example, Prisoner Action Net and the No Offence forum). Discussions specifically for families may be better directed to other forums (e.g. Prison Chat UK and Prisoners Families Voices).

Family members are welcome to contribute to the forum, so long as this is done in a way that is directly linked to an issue that is being faced by an individual person with convictions for example a question on behalf of somebody else. Such contributions must be done in a private capacity, and in a way that does not contravene any other rules set out below.

Please accept and respect the actions of the moderator. Moderation actions are guided by the expectation that members agree to the principle of taking personal responsibility for their contributions and presence on the forum. Due to limited moderating resources, we are unable to engage in individual discussions surrounding specific moderations. As a result, questions relating to moderations will be removed.



Please do NOT share personal information via the forum. Sharing details over the internet with people you don’t know may lead to problems and is never a good idea. This includes full name, address, email address, telephone number or other personal information online (e.g. specific offence or conviction details). No Unlock employees or forum moderators will ever request such details online. For example, in relation to conviction details, instead of “I was convicted for stealing £500 from [name of employer]”, you should write something like “I was convicted of theft”

Be sure you want to give information before you post a message. Remember that anybody can read it. All members need to be aware that when they submit information to the forum then it is visible to the entire internet community. The forum can be viewed by almost anyone on the planet with internet access. Any information that can be displayed on a computer screen can potentially be saved by the person viewing it. It is not technically possible for Unlock to prevent this from happening so if you are worried about someone else viewing or saving your information then you should not post it.

Unlock aims to bring the voice of the community to a larger audience. At times, we may do this by quoting your messages. When using your messages, we will identify you only by your display name. We promise to be sensitive in this effort. We will not republish anything that we think could be deemed personally identifying or endangering, inflammatory or embarrassing to you without your consent.


Talking to other members

Unlock cannot take any responsibility for any distress that may arise from use of the forum.

The forum is not intended to allow individuals to contact one another directly. As a result, Unlock will not assist members in this, and will take any necessary steps to ensure that this does not take place.

We encourage the exchange of useful information on the forum and want you to share interesting websites with other members. Adding an appropriate link to your posting links is invited. However, obvious promotion of, or inappropriate links to, other websites will be removed where it is felt that these are not genuine and which could be seen as marketing. We consider an ‘appropriate link’ as one that is relevant to both the posting and the forum topic. Any other links will be removed.


Discussing offence details

As per the rules of the forum, the specific detail of an offence and/or conviction is not allowed. Many members will, nevertheless, be able to refer generally to their offence (e.g. theft).

However, any reference to sexual offences or sexual convictions is not allowed and will be considered a breach of the rules. This means that people with convictions for sexual offences should take particular care not to disclose their offence type, explicitly or implicitly As a result, if you feel that it is not possible for you to meaningfully contribute without disclosing such details, you should refrain from using the forum. Please be aware that there will be a strict moderating approach taken to this, and this rule applies across the entire forum. For more details on this, click here.


Dealing with difficult situations

You are expected to take personal responsibility for your presence and contributions to the forum.

The community is varied, encompassing a range of personalities, attitudes, cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs, sexual orientations, experiences, opinions and feelings. In your posts, please:

  1. Respect yourself
  2. Respect other members
  3. Respect the space provided

The spectrum of people with convictions is a broad one; its effect on individuals, families and friends can take many forms. Please be empathic towards each other.

To help you take personal responsibility when faced with contributions or situations that you find challenging, you may want to think about:

  1. Disengaging from the situation
  2. Addressing and resolving the situation directly with relevant member/s, while remaining respectful of differences
  3. NOT reacting to what you may perceive as provocations
  4. NOT engaging in interactions intended to ‘protect’ or ‘support’ other members, i.e. do NOT ‘take sides’
  5. NOT talking about the situation/person in an indirect way
  6. NOT speculating or make assumptions/judgements/statements about others
  7. Taking time out of the forum
  8. ‘Ignoring’ a specific poster by using the ‘ignore’ option (the red thumbs down button in the top-right hand corner of the members post)

In moderating the forum, we will try to allow time for members to resolve difficulties/conflict themselves where there isn’t an obvious breach of the rules. This may result in uncomfortable feelings and/or the presence of difficult/challenging threads; however, Unlock feels it is important that individuals are given this opportunity.


Following the rules

The rules provide further details on what Unlock will do in situations where the rules are not followed.

If at any point you are unable or do not wish to accept and apply the rules and guidelines, please refrain from using the forum.

If you have any doubt as to whether your presence or contribution to the forum will be in breach of the rule, please provide details by email and waiting to receive clarification before posting. If in doubt, do not post.

We also ask that all members support the forum in retaining its purpose and integrity. As a result, where a member, or particular post, appears to be in breach of the rules, we ask that you:

  1. Alert us to the inappropriate post or member. This can be done by:
    a. Using the yellow ‘Alert’ button (which can be found in the top-right corner of the relevant post)
    b. Emailing with the relevant details of the post and/or member (e.g. date/time/location/member).
  2. Explain to a poster that appears to be in breach of the rules of why this is, and ask them to not post any further until they have clarified the rules.
  3. Encourage the poster to email if they are in doubt as to the rules.

Members who appear to support or encourage further posts on issues which may appear to be in breach of the rules may be regarded as also being in breach of the rules.

Please accept and respect the actions of the moderator. Moderation actions are guided by the expectation that members agree to the principle of taking personal responsibility for their contributions and presence on the forum. Due to limited moderating resources, we are unable to engage in individual discussions surrounding specific moderations. As a result, questions relating to moderations will be removed.

Leaving the forum

If you no longer want to take part in the forum, email with your membership details. Once we receive this, we will remove your personal details from the forum. After this point, you will no longer be able to take part in the forum using that particular account, as it will be locked.

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