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“I didn’t think that my dad was at risk of dying when he was sent to prison” – The impact of coronavirus on people in prison

If you’ve got a parent or family member who is over 70 then you’ll no doubt have been concerned to learn that this put’s them at greater risk of contracting coronovirus. But what if they were in prison where they can’t self-isolate and you can’t check that

Despite my criminal record, I am a good Samaritan

It’s important that any organisation working with the young or vulnerable carry out proper risk assessments and, as George’s story shows, formal criminal record checks and assessments don’t automatically lead to you being refused a voluntary role. Just over two years ago I was convicted of an

My probation officer is never going to be my friend but I have a better understanding of her job now

During the time she was on licence from prison, Sally had a difficult relationship with her probation officer. It’s only with the benefit of hindsight that she’s able to see why probation did things the way they did and how understanding her offending behaviour has made her

Don’t be bitter, just be better

Although the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Indeterminate Prison Sentences (IPP’s) breached an individual’s human rights, many men and women remain in prison with no idea of when they’ll be able to leave. Max served over 12 years in prison after being given a two

“Acceptance was the answer to my problems” – Getting into university with an unspent conviction

Despite education being widely recognised as a key factor in successful rehabilitation, having to disclose a conviction will often mean that people with convictions are discouraged from applying. But, refusal from one university didn’t stop Henry from following his dream to study for a Masters. I’m so

“Don’t believe everything you read” – Getting a visa from the US Embassy in Belfast is no guarantee

Having done a huge amount of research, Will was reasonably optimistic that travelling to the US Embassy in Belfast would improve his chances of getting a visa. Last year I visited the US Embassy in Belfast to apply for a US holiday visa. Because of the work

Need some support in these testing times? Why not join Unlock’s online forum?

As a way of tackling the Covid-19 pandemic, the country has been challenged to undertake self-isolation and social distancing. Although we all appreciate why it’s so important to reduce the spread of the infection, for many this will be a particularly stressful and isolating time. Humans are

I thought “offenders” were different to me until my friend received a criminal record

Annie found it hard to empathise with anybody that had a criminal record until her friend received a conviction and went to prison. I’ve been running my own hairdressing business for approximately 25 years now and, I’m happy to say that it’s very successful. I’m based in

Should my past forever define who I am?

Sadly, AJ’s story is not an unusual one. As a young man, he made some bad choices which saw him sent to prison. Yet despite spending the last 9 years trying to make amends, it seems as though he’ll never be allowed to leave the past behind.

I’ve been fortunate that my stupidity hasn’t been held against me

On paper Keith’s conviction for arson sounds terrible but, the key to his success has been his ability to disclose it openly and honestly to any college/university or employer that asks. I left home at the age of 16 and for the next two years stayed with

My life has been enriched since challenging my SOPO

A series of terrible incidents relating to his criminal record led Gerry to apply to have his SOPO revoked with a very positive outcome. Back in 2009 I was convicted of a downloading offence which resulted in a community sentence and an indefinite SOPO. In the years

If employers aren’t willing to give people with convictions a second chance how can we ever prove that we’ve changed

Josh readily accepts that having been convicted of a serious offence he deserved to be punished. However, having worked hard to deal with the issues that led to his offending, Josh is struggling to come to terms with the fact that he’s going to be punished for