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Piece in The Economist – “In Britain, criminal records dog offenders for decades”

Yesterday The Economist published an excellent piece, making the point that “the long memory of the law may limit the chance of rehabilitation”.

Following the recent Law Commission report, and ahead of the Court of Appeal hearing into the current DBS filtering legal challenge, the article highlights Britain’s punitive approach to criminal records.

Featuring the work I did as part of my Winston Churchill Fellowship:

“All this adds up to a system that affects ex-offenders for longer and more profoundly than those elsewhere in Europe, says Christopher Stacey of Unlock, a charity that helps ex-cons. Not all countries include cautions in criminal records, as England and Wales do. In some, employers tend only to ask for background checks when required to do so by law. Sweden allows crimes that have resulted in imprisonment to be expunged after ten years. In France, a judge can deem a person to be “rehabilitated” and wipe the slate clean.”

The article goes on:

“The dilemma is how to balance risk with rehabilitation. At present, Britain leans heavily towards minimising the former. A criminal record is, in effect, an additional sentence, says Mr Stacey—one that can run for the rest of a person’s life.”

Read the article in full.

Written by Christopher Stacey

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