Forcing adults to admit to petty crime from their teen years is unfair and counter-productive

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Friday 27 October 2017 17:03
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Thousands of people contact ex-offenders charity Unlock every year because of problems they’re facing as a result of minor criminal records acquired in childhood and early adulthood
Thousands of people contact ex-offenders charity Unlock every year because of problems they’re facing as a result of minor criminal records acquired in childhood and early adulthood

The Justice Committee are right to recommend significant reforms to the way that youth criminal records are disclosed to employers later on in life. The report shows how the current approach is failing children and young people who get caught up in the criminal justice system. Their lives are being dogged by a minor criminal record for decades, often for life, which anchors people to their past.

Thousands of people contact us every year because of problems they’re facing as a result of minor criminal records acquired in childhood and early adulthood. There is now overwhelming evidence that the Government’s approach to criminal records disclosure needs to change. In the last year alone, there have been three significant reports that together set out the case for reforming the regime while maintaining public protection and safeguarding.

The Court of Appeal has ruled that the current criminal records regime is blunt, disproportionate and not in accordance with the law. The Government is dragging its heels by appealing to the Supreme Court and it is clearly not listening to the compelling evidence that shows the significant and unnecessary barriers to rehabilitation that the current regime is creating.

The fact that someone still has to disclose 2 shoplifting offences from when they were 15, 40 years ago, shows that the Government needs to take immediate steps to respond to this problem.

It is common sense that, while certain offences need to be disclosed to employers, we should not be unnecessarily blighting the lives of people who are trying to move on by disclosing old, minor or irrelevant information that holds them back and stops them from reaching their potential.

Christopher Stacey, Co-director of Unlock
Address supplied

Why are taxpayers paying for MPs to send letters for ‘personal research'?

If the excuse given by Chris Heaton-Harris for sending that letter to universities is true then it raises further questions over abuse of position, mis-use of public funds and possibly even abuse of power.

If the letter was sent for private research purposes, why was it on official House of Commons headed note paper, presumably with the postage paid for out of House of Commons expenses, presumably typed by a House of Commons-paid-for secretary and presumably dictated in work time when he should have been working on behalf of his constituents?

When I worked it was frowned upon to put private post in the office mail as it was considered to be petty pilfering. If I was found to be doing private work during working hours I would have quickly been shown the door.

Yet another example of a misguided sense of entitlement by MPs. I can only hope the good people of Daventry remember at the next election how their MP uses his time.

Nigel Groom
Witham

A better NHS system of accountability

One reason why the NHS has suffered from poor management, in my experience, is that the managers are not seen. The care staff are the ones the patient see, and we are very reluctant to criticise them, for a lot of reasons ranging from respect and appreciation to fear and vulnerability.

Perhaps we need a process that would allow a critique of the system without necessarily impugning the staff who implement it.

Joanna Pallister
Durham

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