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Individuals’ criminal records could be sealed from employers as part of a series of recommendations made in an independent review of the treatment of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) individuals in the criminal justice system.
David Lammy MP, who led the review, argues that the UK should learn from the US system for ‘sealing’ criminal records, whereby ex-offenders can have their case heard by a judge, or an independent body such as a parole board, where they could prove they have reformed.
A judgment would then be made to decide if the criminal record should be ‘sealed’, having considered factors such as time since the offence and evidence of rehabilitation.
If the decision goes the applicant’s way, their criminal record would still exist, but the ex-offender would not need to disclose it and employers would not be able to access it.
“A job is the foundation of a law-abiding life and the key to reform for any offender,” said Lammy. “Our criminal records regime must protect the public, but it is having the opposite effect and trapping offenders in their past.
“We need a more flexible approach which recognises when people no longer pose a risk to society and gives a chance to start afresh.”
The review recommends that there should be a presumption to look favourably on those who committed crimes either as children or young adults but can demonstrate that they have changed since their conviction.
Christopher Stacey, co-director of Unlock, a charity that help ex-offenders deal with the stigma of convictions, said: “The [current criminal records disclosure regime] unnecessarily anchors people to their past, locks them out of the la