Struggles & Stigma

This section contains the stories of people with convictions who are facing difficulties as a result of the impact of their criminal record.

Got a story or experience to share? You can find out more about contributing to theRecord, or email therecord@outlook.com.

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“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

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.

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

Isn’t 45 years long enough to have to disclose a criminal record?

Laura has been able to work very successfully as a librarian despite her criminal record. However, she feels strongly that the current disclosure laws need to be changed so that there comes a time when people with very old convictions no longer have to reveal them to

Do the police believe in rehabilitation?

After a visit from the police, Russell felt like the police didn’t believe in rehabilitation, as they took no account of how he’d moved forwards with his life over the 8 years since his last offence. I have been on the Sex Offenders Register (SOR) for five

I thought the last people to judge me would be the solicitors I worked for

After working for a company for 25 years, Ian was distraught to learn that following changes to the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s Code of Conduct, he would have to disclose his 31 year old criminal record. Until August of this year I was employed in the accounts department

A cautionary tale if you’re looking to start a relationship with somebody who has been convicted of a sexual offence

Having started a new relationship with a man who’d been convicted of a sexual offence, Yvonne was surprised to find that the police, probation and social services all had such a judgemental attitude towards both her and her partner. My partner Stephen is a convicted sex offender.

“Second chances don’t feel like they exist if you’ve been convicted of a sexual offence

Dean was delighted to find a job with a really supportive employer and didn’t think for a minute that he’d be dismissed 9 months later after head office had sight of his DBS certificate. Back in September 2018 I applied for a job delivering and collecting courtesy

Allow me to talk about my past and you might give me a better future

Having a criminal record can make it difficult to get into employment but as Ben has discovered, a diagnosis of PTSD makes it even more so. I came out of prison after serving 3 months of a six-month sentence. To give you some background to my conviction,

‘Employers, if you want me to disclose my conviction, then please ask me the question’

Despite ticking the ‘Yes’ box which asked about convictions on an application form, Silvester wasn’t asked about them at interview and so did not disclose. Although he’d done nothing wrong, he was still dismissed when his criminal record came to light. I’ve been out of prison for

I’ve worked hard to be part of a system that’s now holding me back – problems with the UK criminal record disclosure system

There are many people who, as youths, picked up convictions for minor offences. However, having worked hard to gain an education and contribute to society, they find themselves in a similar situation to Tom – being judged by employers who only see them as a safeguarding risk.

What’s the point of having a policy if an employer doesn’t bother to follow it?

Miski applied to a large, well-known employer and believed they would follow their published policy on recruiting people with criminal records. Here we look at how this employer approached asking, assessing and adhering to their own policy.   A couple of years ago I applied for a