I’m delighted (and feel very fortunate) to be awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship. This is a great opportunity to learn more about how other countries deal with criminal records, and how we could take some of the good policy and practice from overseas and apply it here in the UK. In recent […]

I’m constantly struck by how many ‘hidden’ people have convictions. Pretty much every time I go out and about, at meetings, events and training sessions, somebody usually comes up to me and says “just to let you know, I’ve got convictions”. It happened again today, twice! I ran a training session in London for practitioners. During the break, […]

I’ve decided to revive this blog. I went through a period a couple of years ago of really enjoying putting my personal thoughts down through this site, but the last 18 months or so has seen me focus my efforts on building the new site for Unlock, and in particular, the news/media side of the […]


It’s not often that I talk (or write) about myself when it comes to my job. Or at least not so publically. But early March was certainly the exception that. Without over-exaggerating, it could probably be regarded as the biggest week of my life so far. Why? Firstly, perhaps, the obvious one to regular readers. […]


I’ve been planning on writing about the recent announcements to increase the use of peer mentors in the community. It raises a number of tensions on my head, including the fear that we’re setting mentors up to fail, expecting them to do too much, using them as a replacement for probation officers, and taking advantage […]

I want to thank my close friend, Charlie Ryder, for bringing my attention to this poem by Judge Dennis Chaleen. Now, although it’s written about people in prison, I saw a lot of comparisons to people with convictions who are trying to get on with their life, so I thought I’d share it here. Prisoners […]


Below is an article I wrote for http://www.thejusticegap.com, and was originally posted here. Over 9.2 million people with England and Wales have a criminal record. Having to disclose a past conviction, even an old and minor one from childhood, can cause significant disadvantage to an individual and their family. The effect is perhaps clearest in […]


In the Summer of 2012, the editors of the Probation Journal contacted me, on the recommendation of Fergus McNeil, to ask whether I’d be interested in writing an article for their special issue, “Opening the criminal justice market”. Now, I don’t know whether it’s a coincidence or not, but in the same month that the […]


So, Bob Ashford has been forced to withdraw as Candidate for the Avon & Somerset PCC due to two minor convictions from 46 years ago. It’s attracted a lot of media attention in the last day or so. A BBC article on the story can be read here. However, he isn’t the first to face […]


Below you find a copy of an interview I gave to Paul Lewis of Radio 4’s Moneybox on changes (and potential changes) to insurance and convictions that might make it easier for people to get insurance. This programme happens to be my favourite radio programme, so I’m incredibly grateful to Paul for covering this issue […]


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