Justice and Safety

Help improve the system for disclosing previous offending behaviour

July 27, 2015 by No Comments | Category Consultation

The Criminal Law and Sentencing Unit is currently running a consultation on proposals for reforming the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.  This consultation is running until 12 August 2015.

The proposals in the consultation paper focus on two key aspects of the current lower level (commonly known as ‘basic’) disclosure regime under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

These key aspects are;

• allowing more people with previous criminal activity to be able to move away from their past after a suitable period of time has elapsed, (i.e. changing the scope of the 1974 Act); and
• changing the different periods of time a person has to disclose their previous criminal activity, (i.e. the rehabilitation periods).

The Scottish Government recognises that having to disclose previous criminal activity, such as a previous criminal conviction, affects many people in our society. The consequences of having to do so can have an on-going impact on people’s ability to gain employment; attend university or college; volunteer, obtain certain licences, secure an apprenticeship or even get insurance or a bank account; etc.

We know that the key factors that influence people not to re-offend include having stable employment, access to education, having positive family relationships and having normal lifestyle choices. Public safety and the interests of wider society are, therefore, generally best served by encouraging and enabling people to move on from their offending behaviour as much as possible.

That is why the Scottish Government is keen to gather as many views as possible from individuals, employers, public bodies and all other interested stakeholders to help improve the current system of disclosure under the Act 1974 so that the rights of individuals to be able to move on with their lives can be more appropriately balanced with the general need for public safety.

For further information or to have your say, please go to: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/05/5592

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