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Tag: Unlocking Experience

Forcing adults to admit to petty crime from their teen years is unfair and counter-productive







Following the release of the Justice Committee report into disclosure of youth criminal records, The Independent published a letter from Unlock’s Co-director, Christopher Stacey. In his letter Christopher, who gave evidence to the Committee, wrote:-


“Thousands of people contact ex-offenders charity Unlock every year because of problems they’re facing as a result of minor criminal records acquired in childhood and early adulthood.


The Justice Committee are right to recommend significant reforms to the way that youth criminal records are disclosed to employers later on in life. The report shows how the current approach is failing children and young people who get caught up in the criminal justice system. Their lives are being dogged by a minor criminal record for decades, often for life, which anchors people to their past.


Thousands of people contact us every year because of problems they’re facing as a result of minor criminal records acquired in childhood and early adulthood. There is now overwhelming evidence that the Government’s approach to criminal records disclosure needs to change. In the last year alone, there have been three significant reports that together set out the case for reforming the regime while maintaining public protection and safeguarding.


The Court of Appeal has ruled that the current criminal records regime is blunt, disproportionate and not in accordance with the law. The Government is dragging its heels by appealing to the Supreme Court and it is clearly not listening to the compelling evidence that shows the significant and unnecessary barriers to rehabilitation that the current regime is creating.


The fact that someone still has to disclose 2 shoplifting offences from when they were 15, 40 years ago, shows that the Government needs to take immediate steps to respond to this problem.


It is common sense that, while certain offences need to be disclosed to employers, we should not be unnecessarily blighting the lives of people who are trying to move on by disclosing old, minor or irrelevant information that holds them back and stops them from reaching their potential.”

Justice Committee inquiry into youth criminal records – have your say!

We’re pleased that, after joint efforts by Unlock and the Standing Committee for Youth Justice (SCYJ), the Justice Committee has launched a short inquiry into the system governing the disclosure of criminal records in relation to offences committed by people when under 18 years old. Given the Committee’s recent inquiry into young adults in the criminal justice system, the Committee also welcomes views on whether the regime governing disclosure of such criminal records should be extended to apply to records of offences committed by older people, for example up to the ages of 21 or 25.

The inquiry is an opportunity to build on the work we’ve been doing with the SCYJ as part of the ‘Growing up, moving on’ campaign, which was launched in April 2016.

It’s also a good opportunity to explain the disproportionate impact that criminal records have on people that obtain them in early adulthood, and to make the case for this to be reflected in the way disclosure laws operate.

In particular, the Committee welcomes written submissions on:

  • The appropriateness and effectiveness of the statutory framework applying to the disclosure to employers and others of criminal records relating to offences committed by people when under 18 years old
  • whether that framework and the way in which it is operated in practice strike an appropriate balance between protection of employers and the public, on the one hand, and the rehabilitation of people committing offences when young, on the other hand
  • the effects in respect of the disclosure of such records of changes made in 2013 to the filtering of offences from criminal records checks and in 2014 to rehabilitation periods.

The deadline is Friday 11th November 2016.

What can you do?

It’s important that as many individuals and organisations put forward their evidence, comments and experiences on the disclosure of youth criminal records. This is the best way to help the Committee to understand the extent of the issue.

In particular, we think it’s extremely important that the inquiry receives evidence from those people with personal experience of having a criminal record from when they were young. For those who find that it continues to hold them back, or created a significant barrier to them moving on, these personal stories can help MP’s on the Committee to understand the problem and identify what needs to change.

We’re in the process of putting together a response, so if you’re planning to submit evidence to the Committee, please let us know and send us copies of the evidence you submit. Email


Further information

Details about the Justice Committee inquiry are on the Parliament website.

Details about our policy work on rehabilitation periods.

Details about our policy work on filtering.

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