By Aaron

 

Should those with unspent convictions should be employed in a place of trust?

I worked in mental health services for nearly 5 years without any blemishes to my work record. The management asked me if I would undertake a diploma or degree in psychosocial interventions as this would put me in good stead for a managerial role. It was a very difficult time in my life, as was still coming to terms with the murder of my son. He was just 15yrs old. I was also asked to do another part-time job on top of the Master’s degree. But I said yes, I would do the course.

While I was waiting to get started on the course, our organisation went up for tender. As part of this process, all the staff had to undergo a new enhanced criminal records check. Mine came back with my prison record on it, as I was sent to prison for 3 years in 1992 for GBH;  I had done 18 months in Northern Ireland. I was immediately sacked because I had not disclosed this.

Until I got advice, I had assumed that anything over 10 years or more was off your record, and that’s why I did not disclose my conviction.

I worked in the mental health area from 2005-2009. When I was sacked in December 2009 , my wife left me and I lost my home and driving licence because I began to drink. My wife also miscarried whilst also trying to come to terms of the death of our son.

All of this happened to me in December 2009. I lost a lot of my confidence and became reclusive because I felt a complete and utter failure. But I didn’t turn to crime, or hurting others. Just because you’ve done something bad in the past, doesn’t mean you’re always going to act that way, no matter how much stress you’re put under.

I do believe people with convictions being trustees should be implemented because people can and do change their lives if given the right needs and support.

Those with no criminal convictions can and do offend; a clean criminal record check only tells you they haven’t been caught yet. And, in very recent times on the news, there have been cases where those in charge of vulnerable people – whom I would assume have no convictions –were mistreating and abusing those people placed in their care.

The important thing is to judge people on how they are now, not on what they’ve done in the past, and let people with conviction make good, positive contributions where they can.

 

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