We need to seal criminal records to help people access work

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Saturday 09 September 2017 18:02
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Once leaving prison, many convicted offenders can find it difficult to get a job and contribute to society
Once leaving prison, many convicted offenders can find it difficult to get a job and contribute to society

David Lammy is right to recommend a process for sealing criminal records. He has recognised the significant negative impact that the current criminal records disclosure regime has on people’s chances of finding work after they’ve turned their lives around. It unnecessarily anchors people to their past, locks them out of the labour market and has a considerable financial cost to society through out-of-work benefits.

The regime is in desperate need of reform. Unlock has long supported the introduction of a criminal records tribunal, a process that would enable individuals to apply to have their criminal record deemed spent or filtered and, if granted, would mean it must no longer be disclosed to employers on a relevant criminal record check. There is evidence from overseas that this approach works, and it would help to address the injustice that many people face as a result of what are currently arbitrary fixed rules that take no account of the positive steps people have taken since their criminal record.

Christopher Stacey – Co-director of Unlock

Rees-Mogg is a born and bred Republican

May I take issue at Beryl Wall’s letter, which suggests we should all blame the Catholic Church for Jacob Rees-Mogg’s “funny little ways”. Perhaps she can advise where or when the Catholic Church has expounded non-charitable attitudes to others, as Jacob Rees-Mogg has a long parliamentary history of doing.

However, the real problem with Beryl’s letter is that it fails to mention the real “followers” are those of Jacob Rees-Mogg, many of whom I fear follow him without a clear understanding of just how unattractive a character he really is. Have none of his constituents less than ideal lives, with poor health, low incomes or have children with special needs, or ageing and infirm relatives who need strong social care facilities to support their daily struggles? Jacob Rees-Mogg's parliamentary record indicates he does not consider any of these constituents should be given any significant thought or concern.

Indeed, despite Rees-Mogg's image being that of an upper class toff from a long bygone age, his views are much nearer those of the American Republican party, which places such great importance on the Bible, and on charity, with the smallest of all involvement of the state in the lives of the American people. Does the UK electorate really want their very own version of Donald Trump as its future prime minister?

David Curran
Feltham

Trump’s election handed victory to Assad

I read with interest the article by Robert Fisk "The West might hardly believe it, but it now seems the Syrian war is ending – and Assad is the victor" with great interest.

I would make the point that although Mr Fisk claims President Trump is about the start World War Three, it was the election of Trump that effectively ended the war in Syria and handed victory to Assad.

For years Obama's administration had been pursuing a philosophy in Syria to remove Assad from power and in doing so initiated a CIA-backed programme to train and support anti-Assad rebels many of whom had links to Isis.

President Trump, although shrewdly criticising Assad in public, pursued a completely different policy in focussing on defeating Isis by dismantling any CIA projects that gave Isis any room to manoeuvre as well as supporting anti-Isis campaigns in Raqqa and Mosul. It was, in effect, making good on a campaign promise to concentrate on defeating terrorism in Syria and Iraq and putting regime-change on the back burner.

Assad owes Russia and Hezbollah but he also owes a debt to President Trump in his defeat of Isis.

Dr Priyad Ariyaratnam
Cottingham

The Conservatives underestimate the Henry VIII powers

First the Conservative Government fought all the way to the Supreme Court against giving our parliamentary representatives a say on Triggering Article 50. Now they seek to seize control of the Committee of Selection, despite not having a Parliamentary majority. Is it any surprise that politicians are regarded as grubby!

The instincts of this minority government are self-evidently anti-democratic. If they succeed in biasing the Committee of Selection on the basis of the purchased Democratic Unionist MPs, it will be a betrayal of our democracy. Sadly, Conservative MPs have a record of meekly falling in line and acting as lobby fodder. They seem oblivious of the reality that once the so-called Henry VIII" powers have been taken to pursue a right-wing agenda, they then become equally accessible to a future hard left government.

Arthur Streatfield
Bath

The Conservative’s power grab shows their arrogance

The attempts by the Conservative Government to increase its powers in the Withdrawal Bill and also manufacture majorities in committees reflects their arrogance and belief that they are the natural “Party of Power”.

However they should be concerned if the same powers get into the hands of another party. They seem to believe that this will not happen; hopefully the British electorate will prove them wrong.

The Conservatives should take note of what is happening in the US. Look at how easy it is for Trump to overturn Obama's Executive Orders using Executive Orders.

Martin Jeanneret
Newhaven

Mea Culpa: climate change

In Saturday's editorial you say, "But intense hurricanes such as Harvey and Irma, not to mention yesterday’s earthquake in Mexico, must be considered within the wider context of our changing climate."

I really hope you do not imagine that earthquakes have anything to do with climate change. Both are real but they are unrelated.

David Watson
Goring Heath

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