Mainstream home and car insurers have a blanket ban on people with unspent convictions – these kinds of policies are unfair and sometimes illegal To many of the 1.2 million people convicted in court each year, it comes as a surprise to find that if they try to take out home insurance, or renew their […]


Quite understandably, David Cameron’s speech on Monday was applauded for being the first one dedicated to prison reform by a Prime Minister in over 20 years. Interestingly though, as he set out his ‘agenda for a revolution in the prison system’, one of the things that caught Unlock’s attention appeared towards the end of his […]


I was pleased to be invited to speak today at the ICO’s Data Protection Policy Conference. With the title “Privacy versus the right to know: balancing privacy and access to personal information in the internet era”, I was asked to come and take part in a panel discussion, “Technology, information and its consequences”, speaking alongside […]


In this Clinks Guest Blog, Christopher Stacey from Clinks members Unlock builds on an earlier blog where he looked at the changing relationship between the voluntary sector and probation service provision, and how Unlock is responding. There’s one common factor amongst everyone who works with people on probation – their clients have a criminal record. […]


In this Clinks Guest Blog, Christopher Stacey from Clinks member Unlock shares his thoughts on the challenges that are emerging from the changing relationship between the voluntary sector and probation service provision. This is the first of two blogs – the second will look at how he sees the voluntary sector responding. What’s the role […]


Can a judge deal with someone in court in a way that limits the impact of a criminal record on the individuals’ future? That was a question the came to my mind when I saw two news reports this week: University student found with cocaine in Aberdeen club has criminal record wiped to save his […]

Here’s a copy of the announcement I published on the Unlock website about the publication of my Winston Churchill Fellowship report. The UK should introduce measures that allow all people with convictions to be potentially regarded as legally ‘rehabilitated’, and therefore not have to disclose their record to employers, according to a report published today. […]

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, […]

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. […]

People with criminal convictions are not the most popular group in society. However, once somebody has served their sentence and doesn’t re-offend, it’s in everybody’s interests to enable them to move on positively with their lives and contribute actively to society. And we’re not talking about a small group of people either – although around […]


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