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.”