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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The hopelessness of IPP sentences

At the start of 2020 there were 2,223 people in prison serving IPP sentences, despite the fact that they’d been abolished in 2012. A sentence with no end date is brutal and many have taken their own lives due to the hopelessness of their situation. Susan was

Fresh starts are over-rated – all I want is a stable job with the same employer

Being a hard worker with some impressive skills, it’s natural that Steve’s employers would want him to work on prestigious government contracts. However, with a conviction from 25 years ago, passing security vetting has been almost impossible for him. I was convicted of common assault almost 25

Employers, if you’ve got a blanket ban on recruiting people with unspent convictions, just tell us

Despite disclosing his unspent conviction on two occasions, Isaac was amazed to learn that his new employer had withdrawn their job offer due to a blanket ban on the recruitment of people with unspent convictions. I met my ex-girlfriend when we were studying for our ‘A’ levels

Why do I still have to fight for everything when my conviction was almost 4 years ago?

Whether you’re applying for a college/university course or a job, disclosing a conviction could potentially make it more difficult. Is it any surprise therefore that some people with a criminal record never reach their full potential simply because the fight goes out of them. In 2015 I

Mistakes made by probation should be a cause of concern to all

Back in 2014, Chris Grayling introduced the privatisation of the probation service. The system was heavily criticised by MP’s and Mary’s story demonstrates just what was going wrong. Several years ago, along with an accomplice, I “earned” approximately £2000 by claiming refunds for items I owned which

Organisations can’t be diverse or inclusive until HR professionals recognise the value of people with convictions

Despite having worked as a nurse for many years, Janice feels that HR departments are more interested in her conviction from 20 years ago than her abilities as a nurse. I’ve been a nurse for over 11 years and have worked in the same hospital department for

Google, ‘Do the right thing’ – don’t take my spent conviction into account when making recruitment decisions

In 2019 Google adopted the motto “do the right thing” to encourage it’s employees to be civil to one another and not break the law. However, as George discovered, this didn’t stop them from flouting the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and taking his spent conviction into account

I can’t erase my past mistakes, I can only learn from them to be better.

Over the last 3 months the number of people claiming out of work benefits has more than doubled. Like many people with a criminal record, Robbie is worried about how this will further impact on his chances of getting a job. Every time I turn on the

Probation, ‘borderline’ offenders and the need for boundaries

One person in 20 is currently living with a personality disorder and a large proportion of these are women. Symptoms vary but in Stacey’s case she struggled with her emotions and relationships with others. She feels strongly that probation officers need more training to enable them to

Why are insurance companies still discriminating against those with a criminal record?

Having just gone through the process of renewing his car and home insurance policies, Leo asks why more isn’t being done to challenge the excessive premiums insurance companies are imposing on people with a criminal record. I was convicted of fraud in March 2017 and received a

“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.