Reforms to help reduce reoffending come into force

Reforms which will cut the amount of time some offenders need to disclose details of any low level convictions will come into effect next month, Justice Minister Simon Hughes said today.

The move is part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to tackling reoffending so that offenders can turn their back on a life of crime and can get back into honest work.

However, all offenders will still always have to declare previous convictions when applying for jobs in sensitive workplaces like schools and hospitals or working with people in vulnerable circumstances. The most serious offenders will continue to have to declare their convictions for the rest of their lives when applying for any job.

Ministry of Justice research shows that former offenders who gain employment are less likely to reoffend.

Justice Minister Simon Hughes said:

“The Coalition government is committed to making sure that offenders take responsibility for their actions. But we also need to make sure that ex-offenders are able to contribute to society by getting an honest job and putting their offending behind them.

“These reforms will help guarantee the continued safety of the public. They will also give offenders who have served their sentence a fair chance of getting their lives back on track.”

These reforms, which will come into affect on Monday 10 March 2014, will also change the way some rehabilitation periods are set so that they are fairer and reflect better the seriousness of the sentences imposed.

Under the new system, rehabilitation periods for community orders and custodial sentences will comprise the period of the sentence plus an additional specified period, rather than all rehabilitation periods starting from the date of conviction as it is under the current regime. So, for an example, an adult offender sentenced to two and a half years custody, who would previously have had to declare their criminal conviction for ten years from the date of conviction, will now have to disclose their conviction for the period of the sentence plus a further four years (giving a total rehabilitation period of 6.5 years).