Nacro will be presenting a report to MPs today to mark the launch of our new campaign Change the Record.
The campaign, which is being backed by former Conservative cabinet minister and ex-offender, Jonathan Aitken, is focused on reforming the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.
This is an outdated law which makes it incredibly hard for people with criminal convictions to get and job and move on from their past.
The report outlines how the current Act is out of tune with the government’s rehabilitation revolution, its initiatives to get people off benefits and back to work and its Big Society plans to create a more equal society.
Paul McDowell, Chief Executive of Nacro, says: “Around a quarter of the adult population has a criminal record. Outdated legislation and unlawful practices are preventing people from moving on with their lives and finding work.
“Research shows that getting reformed offenders into work can reduce reoffending by up to a half. Updating the legislation therefore benefits not only ex-offenders and employers, who gain valuable skills, but also the wider community.”
Jonathan Aitken says: “I am one of many ex-offenders grateful for the passing of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act in 1974. This legislation was designed to help people with a criminal record get back into work. It established the principle of ‘spent’ convictions, giving certain categories of ex-offenders the right not to disclose their offence to employers after periods of time ranging between five and ten years.
“But after 36 years, the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 is in need of reform because its limitations make it out of date and ineffective. The rehabilitation periods are also too onerous. So amendments to the Act are overdue.”
Click here to find out more about the campaign