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Tag: policy

What’s the impact of Covid-19 on people with criminal records?

Covid-19 and the social distancing measures introduced to help control it are creating challenges for all of us. For people with criminal records, these challenges can be particularly difficult to overcome.

Since the UK went into lock-down, we’ve been contacted by many people with criminal records – those with criminal records in the community, people in prison and people who are subject to licence or community orders – concerned about what Covid-19 means in terms of their criminal record.

We’ve produced some new information for people with a criminal record which tries to answer some of the common questions we’re coming across. We may not have all the answers – this situation is new to us too – but we will be regularly updating it to ensure it has the latest information and advice on Covid-19 and how it impacts on those with a criminal record.

We have also started to bring together the emerging issues faced by people with criminal records. These include employment, housing and education, as well as DBS checks and supervision arrangements. We are looking carefully at the policy implications of Covid-19 and the social distancing rules, and at how these might affect people with criminal records in the future. You can read more here. We will keep this page under review and update this as things change.

We want our information and policy work to accurately reflect the challenges you’re facing and we need your help to do that by. We asked you to tell us about your experiences via a short survey – you can read the findings here.

With this evidence, we can raise the issues and call for solutions.


Families of prisoners pay high insurance premiums and face more refusals

An article in the Independent reports that families of offenders face higher premiums and even flat refusals when it comes to getting insurance.

The article quotes a report by Unlock, which revealed that 37 per cent of the calls made to its helpline related to insurance.

It also revealed a startling issue; that many families of prisoners and former prisoners did not know that they had to declare the situation to their insurer. You can read the full article here.


Unlock welcomes the implementation of reforms to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

Christopher Stacey, Co-Director at Unlock, said “We are pleased that the Government has announced today that the long-overdue reforms to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 will come into force on the 10th March 2014. For far too long, people who have served their sentence and changed their ways have been prevented from moving on in their lives. As a result of these changes, many people with convictions who have in the past have been languishing on benefits will now be able to go out and get work and contribute positively to society”.

“Since the law was passed in 2012, our helpline has been receiving calls on a daily basis from people who have been putting their lives and careers on hold, waiting for the changes to come in. It’s clear to us that these changes will make a huge difference to thousands of people whose convictions will now be spent under these changes, giving them a fresh start when applying for many jobs, education courses and insurance services.”

“However, we must not forget that these changes are far from perfect. It will remain the case that anybody who receives a prison sentence of over 4 years will have to continue to disclose their convictions for the rest of their lives whenever they are asked, and this remains a huge stumbling block for many people who are trying to change their lives for the better. If the Government wants to truly transform our criminal justice system, it must recognise that access to stable employment is the most important factor in people desisting from crime, and having a criminal record disclosure system that continues to punish people for the rest of their lives is not in anybody’s interest”.



People with convictions as trustees – Consultation response by Unlock

Following our recent news about the proposed changes by the Charity Commission, we’ve now submitted our response

As a charity that exists to support the efforts of people with convictions in moving on positively with their lives, and as an organisation which itself has sought to recruit trustees who themselves have convictions, we are concerned about the potential impact of these proposals, as well as being concerned about how the current system operates.

There is a common theme that runs throughout our response – our aim is to ensure that the processes of the Charity Commission work in a way which allows charities the freedom to recruit people as trustees who have unspent convictions, where the charity believes that the individual can fulfil their obligations as a trustee and the charity can show it has taken reasonable steps to protect the interests of the charity.

In addition to drawing on our own experience as an organisation, and the individuals that we’ve worked with, we sought to raise awareness of this consultation amongst organisations that we know keen to have people with convictions involved at a management level within their organisations. In particular, we have worked with Clinks, which is a charity that supports voluntary organisations that work with offenders and their families.

As well as encouraging responses from other organisations, we have included in our response anonymous extracts from the responses that we received, in order to raise awareness of the concerns of other organisations.

Download our response here.


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