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Key issues

Here we set out the key issues we’re focusing on as part of our policy and campaign work.

Separately, we’ve set out our priorities for government.


#FairChecks movement – Unlock partnered with the charity Transform Justice to launch the #FairChecks movement to help push for a fresh start for the criminal records system. 

Ban the Box – Unlock co-founded the campaign in 2013, calling on employers to remove questions about criminal records from application forms. This might mean asking later on, or realising that asking isn’t necessary at all. Ban the Box links with our fair access to employment project. We also have a section about this on our website for employers.


Core issues

1. Further reform of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

2. Challenging the DBS ‘filtering’ process

3. Supporting and challenging employers

4. Stopping unlawful/ineligible DBS checks

5. Improving how the DBS works for people with criminal records

6. Stopping the DVLA sharing of spent motoring convictions

7. Reducing the ‘google-effect’ for people with spent convictions

8. Enabling people with convictions to become trustees and run charities

9. Stopping enforced subject access requests

10. Stopping employers asking misleading questions

11. Promoting fair admission to universities and colleges

12. Improving support to secure meaningful employment

13. Ensuring fair treatment by insurance companies

14. Maintaining systems for people in prison to open bank accounts 

15. Encouraging fair treatment by housing providers

Alongside these priority areas, we have a longer list of policy issues

We need to end the use of stigmatising language

Language matters. Using stigmatising language – like offenders and ex-offenders – in legislation, policies and practices embeds bias and stigma. Referring to people in prison or on probation as “offenders” implies people who cannot be rehabilitated By continuing to use terminology like offender and ex-offender, especially once people have served their sentence, we continue to stigmatise the individual and make it more difficult for them to make those changes in their life. We need to end the use of stigmatising language. People are people first. 

Ear to the ground, voice at the top

We know that the issues people face as a result of their criminal record can vary over time and we are always keen to hear about your experiences. As a result we know there is a long list of policy issues


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