How the government is helping ex-offenders get back into work

Government are reducing time certain convictions become spent.

Under the new legislations which have taken place in September 2020, government are reducing the time it takes for a conviction to be ‘spent’. A spent conviction is when the rehabilitation period has been successfully completed ie the time the penalty is for ie 2 years in prison + a ‘buffer period’ which can be 4 years probation, adding up to 6 years in total. After 6 years, the conviction is considered ‘spent’. After the rehabilitation period, people do not longer need to disclose their criminal history to employers.

The proposed new rehabilitation periods versus the old rehabilitation periods:


Sentence
Adults
(New rehabilitation periods are)
Under 18s
(New rehabilitation periods are)
Adults
(Existing rehabilitation periods are)
Under 18s
(Existing rehabilitation periods are)
(Adult) Community OrderThe last day on which the order has effect (CHANGE)N/A1 year beginning with the last day on which the order has effectN/A
Youth Rehabilitation Order
N/A
The last day on which the order has effect
(CHANGE)

N/A
6 months beginning with the last day on which the order has effect
Custody of 6 months or less1 year
(CHANGE)
6 months
(CHANGE)
2 years18 months
Custody of more than 6 months and up to 30 months4 years2 years4 years2 years
Custody of more than 30 months and up to 4 years4 years
(CHANGE)
2 years
(CHANGE)
7 years3.5 years
Custody of more than 4 years7 years *
(CHANGE)
3.5 years
(CHANGE)
Conviction is never spentConviction is never spent

* These changes do not apply to someone who has committed a serious sexual crime, a violent and terrorist attack. More on this here

Under the new legislation, someone who has committed theft and received 5 years in prison many years ago and has not re-offended again, will benefit from these changes. They will not longer need to disclose their crimes after the 7 years rehabilitation. At the moment, this crime will need to be disclosed for the rest of their lives, even though the crime was committed 30 years ago or as a child. This of course, increases the chances for ex-offenders getting back into employment.

Although many efforts are going into onboarding companies in employing ex-offenders, we are still far from ideal with more than half of employers saying that they will not consider someone for a job with a criminal record. The statistic show that only 17% of ex-offenders are able to find a job after release.

It is great to see that government are taking steps but the reality is still far from ideal. Employers, social organisations and the government are continuing working together to make the world a fairer place for all.

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