I’m just on my way back from Dublin, after having being invited by the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) to come and talk at an Oireachtas (Parliamentary) Seminar on Penal Reform, hosted by Ivana Bacik, to try and push for the speedy implementation of the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions) Bill. It still amazes me that Ireland […]

Coming back on the train from this evenings Clinks AGM, I’m left to reflect on what was a rather illuminating event. Firstly, it was interesting to hear the core question that was pitched by Clinks; “What if….there was no voluntary sector”. It was also good to hear Clive Martin recognise that Transforming Rehabilitation isn’t for […]

I’ve just come back from a visit to the French Criminal Records Register, the Casier Judiciaire National (CJN). They are responsible for uploading court records onto the national criminal record, and then providing these details through different ‘bulletins’, mainly for employment purposes.

The case of Ched Evans has hit the headlines once again as news reports announce that he’s due for release any day. This has again raised the question as to whether Sheffield United, the football club he used to play before, should give him a new contract to come back and play for them. Ched […]

This was the question I was asked the other day by someone I met in Spain as part of my Winston Churchill Fellowship. It came after I’d explained about the ferocious appetite in the UK, from employers, for details of criminal records. I was taken aback by the simplicity of the question. And I must […]

Do you spot the difference? To the unlearned eye, they might seem to mean the same thing? But they’re not. And I think there’s something to be said for how we should understand the difference better. One of the problems I often see in the UK is a lot of confusion about whether somebody needs […]

On my first night in Barcelona. I hate to admit this, but travelling alone, and not being able to speak very good Spanish, I found myself having dinner in an Irish pub – my excuse was that the Arsenal v Tottenham game was showing, but subconsciously, I suspect there was something in me which felt […]

When I was on my flight to Spain over the weekend, I was trying to think about what it’s like over in Spain. What’s it like to have a criminal record? I wonder if they do criminal record checks in the same way as the UK? I wonder if people face similar problems, like getting […]

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, […]


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