Barrier to Employment Has Been Lifted for Ex-Offenders

Lifting barriers to employment for ex-offenders is an important step to help them reintegrate with society. Since October 2023, over 120,000 former offenders will find it easier to turn their lives around and get back to work following a change in the law.

To help ex-offenders turn their back on crime and hopefully reduce reoffending, a law change that was introduced on the 28th of October will allow certain custodial sentences to no longer need to be declared. This removes a significant barrier allowing ex-offenders to rebuild their lives, but obviously, the right safeguards must be in place to protect everybody.

One of the main goals of prison is rehabilitation. Prison allows offenders to address the issues that could have led to their criminal behaviour and provide them with the opportunities to re-enter society as law-abiding citizens once they have completed their sentence.

Many ex-offenders can face significant hurdles and challenges when trying to re-enter the workforce due to their criminal records, and unfortunately lifting barriers to employment for ex-offenders is a complex issue. Ease of access to employment for ex-offenders can vary on location and what employment they are trying to seek. There is also the issue of public bias and judgement, so it is extremely important that ex-offenders are given a fair opportunity to rebuild their lives.

In the UK, DBS and background checks are used to assess the criminal history of job seekers applying for certain roles such as those that involve taking care of the vulnerable. Under the previous rules, most offenders were required to declare their previous convictions for the rest of their lives, even for crimes that were committed many decades earlier which creates a significant barrier to ex-offenders rebuilding their lives.

What does this new law actually change?

Custodial sentences of four years or more years for less serious crimes will become ‘spent’ after a seven-year period of rehabilitation, as long as no further offences are committed. So this law change will significantly reduce the amount of time those with certain criminal record convictions must legally declare their convictions to potential employers.

Don’t worry! It is important to note that offenders who have committed crimes of a serious nature such as sexual, violent or terrorist offences are excluded from these changes to ensure there is not an increased risk to the public. Also, stricter disclosure rules will still apply to those applying for jobs that involve working with vulnerable people through standard and enhanced DBS checks.

This new law change will immediately impact thousands of people with previous unspent convictions, with nearly 125000 offenders sentenced in 2022 set to beneft!

But still, protecting everybody MUST remain a priority. Are you looking for criminal record checks? Here at CBS, we are able to help with a wide range of background checks from basic to enhanced! Get in touch with us today to find out more.

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