“A fair and inclusive society where people with convictions can move on positively in their lives”



To help people overcome the long-term disadvantages caused by their criminal convictions, and work with government,  employers and others to enable people to move on positively in their lives.



  1. People moving on positively in their lives – individuals have the knowledge, skills, confidence and support to overcome the long-term disadvantages caused by their convictions.
  2. A fairer and more inclusive society – government, employers and others have policies, practices and attitudes that support fair treatment of people with convictions.


Unlock in brief

  • Unlock is a charity founded by a group of former prisoners who wanted to use their experience so that people with convictions would have better opportunities to move on in their lives.
  • We support those who have desisted from crime to live a law-abiding life.
  • We believe people want to lead a positive life and when opportunity unleashes their potential they contribute great things. The ultimate solutions to crime lay in social, not criminal justice. Desistance from crime is by-product of a complex long-term process of identity change and the achievement of potential.
  • We focus on the long-term disadvantage of convictions, impacting on individuals and their families, organisations and communities, and society.
  • We work in partnership, and with volunteers, to achieve outcomes at both the individual and systemic level.


Why are we needed?

  • Society asks ‘criminals’ to become productive citizens; get education, find work, support their family and pay tax. People who reform themselves seek to do this.
  • Law abiding people with convictions face long-term discrimination and exclusion from the basics of life including employment, housing, travel, and financial services. For example, employers admit to seeking criminal record information for two-thirds of vacancies and rejecting ex-offenders for up to 90% of vacancies.
  • Over 10 million people in the UK have a criminal record.
  • One in three men (and almost one in ten women) has a conviction by the age of 53.
  • 26% of the 4.9 million claimants of out of work benefits are people with criminal records.
  • Long-term discrimination means the end of a sentence is only the beginning of a life with a criminal record.
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