Currently, anyone sentenced to more than four years in prison has to disclose their conviction to employers for the rest of their career.
However, there are plans to change this. Justice secretary David Gauke wants to see this changed in a bid to break the barriers to employment for reformed criminals. Gauke says:
The responsibility, structure and support provided by regular work is an essential component of effective rehabilitation, something which benefits us all by reducing reoffending and cutting the cost of crime. That’s why we are introducing reforms to break barriers faced by ex-offenders who genuinely want to turn their lives around through employment.
This change will apply only to lower level, non-violent offences and would only come into force after a rehabilitation period has passed.
It would not apply to people convicted of serious sexual, violent or terrorism offences, or for offences that carry the most serious sentences such as life imprisonment.
It could, however, apply to people convicted of manslaughter, assault, robbery and more minor sexual offences.
The length of the rehabilitation period hasn’t been disclosed and consultation with the justice sector will be sought before this is decided.
Jobs that are sensitive, including those that involve working with children, vulnerable adults or are positions of public trust will still require a lifelong disclosure of convictions, even those committed as a child.
There are also plans to reduce the length of time that shorter and community sentences have to be disclosed to employers.
The changes aim to allow people to break free of the stigma of their past, and with just 17% of offenders being in employment a year after release from prison, and half of employers saying they would not consider hiring an ex-offender, it is clear why the changes are felt to be necessary.
If you have a question about an ongoing criminal case, or a conviction you would like to Appeal, call us now on 01623 397200.