Comment on article in The Independent – “We should encourage more employers to do the same”

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The leading charity for people with convictions has defended a Tower Hamlets school employing a convicted killer and called on more employers to hire ex criminals who have become positive members of society. In response to an article in The Independent and on BBC News, Christopher Stacey, Co-director of Unlock, said:

“We speak to people with criminal convictions every day who are struggling to find work many years after they have served their sentence. With over a quarter of people out-of-work having received a criminal record in the last 10 years, it’s in society’s interest to enable people who have offended in the past to become contributors to society rather than burdens on the state.


“With over 10.5 million people in the UK with a criminal record, we need to encourage employers to treat every applicant on a case-by-case basis and not have blanket exclusions towards people with criminal records. That’s why campaigns like Ban the Box, and the recent commitment by David Cameron to apply this approach to the civil service, are so important in changing the attitudes of employers towards people with a criminal record.


“People who have committed crime cannot change the past, but they can focus on what they do in the future. Ian Devlin looks to have done everything he can since he was released from prison to become an active, positive member of society. The school clearly recognised this in their recruitment process. We should encourage more employers to do the same.”


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Notes to editors

  1. Press/media enquiries should be directed to Unlock’s spokesperson, Christopher Stacey, Co-director. Email or call 07557 676433.
  2. Unlock is an independent, award-winning charity for people with convictions which exists for two simple reasons. Firstly, Unlock assists people to move on positively with their lives by empowering them with information, advice and support to overcome the stigma of their previous convictions. Secondly, Unlock seeks to promote a fairer and more inclusive society by challenging discriminatory practices and promoting socially just alternatives.
  3. There are over 10.5 million people in the UK that have a criminal record.
  4. Unlock’s website is
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