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A journey from entering the Koestler Awards to studying at the Royal Drawing School

This post originally appeared on the Koestler Arts website and is reproduced with permission and thanks. I found my creative side about 12 years ago whilst I was serving a six-year sentence in a young offender institution. I was locked up for 23 hours a day, in

Help us plan our future work

As a small charity rooted in the experiences of people with a criminal record, it’s really important that our work is shaped by the needs of the people that we exist to help. We are developing our plans for Unlock’s work in the next few years. We

I had to face the consequences of breaking the law, why shouldn’t local councils?

Having discovered that his local council were acting unlawfully by requesting a copy of his subject access request from the police, Mikey wasn’t content with a simple ‘sorry’ from them. Last year I reapplied to go on the councils housing list as in 2017 I’d been refused

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

Reflections on the last decade from a person with a criminal record

As we enter a new decade, Amy looks back at her experiences over the past 10 years. Stepping into 2020, I’m sure you can’t have failed to notice the huge amount of people that joined in the Instagram 10-Year Challenge, posting photographs of themselves in 2010 and

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

Teaching is facing a recruitment crisis; how can it be turned around?

Several years ago, The Guardian published an article about the crisis in the recruitment of teachers. Since then, things haven’t got much better however as an ex-teacher with a criminal record, I’ve got my own ideas on how to improve the recruitment problem. Back in 2017, it

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.

Forgiving myself was harder than being forgiven by others

Following his conviction for murder, Toby never believed that he deserved to be happy or to move on with his life. Read about his journey to forgiveness. If you ask the general public what offenders are the most dangerous or what the most heinous offence is most

An education, a job and a future; look how my life has changed

Despite a pretty awful childhood, the support of her foster family enabled Maddie to follow her dream of becoming a social worker. My childhood sounds like something from a Martina Cole novel. I came from one of those families that you see on the Jeremy Kyle show.

“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