A fresh start for everyone: our key asks

Imagine this

  • A young person makes a mistake as a teenager and ends up with a conviction for drugs. It hangs over their head for life, limiting their job prospects.
  • Someone who served a short prison sentence decades ago struggles to find work because it’s on their record, even though they’ve changed their life.
  • A parent with a caution for a minor criminal offence can’t volunteer at their child’s school, simply because of their past.

It’s unfair. And it’s happening to thousands of people every year.

It doesn’t have to be this way

FairChecks is fighting for a fairer system of criminal record checks that gives everyone a chance to move on from their past and build a brighter future. The whole system needs a review to make sure people aren’t punished unnecessarily after they’ve served their sentence.

In the meantime, here’s what we’re asking for as the first steps towards creating a fairer system:

1. No automatic disclosure of cautions

Minor offences like graffiti shouldn’t haunt someone forever. Cautions should only be included in detailed background checks when truly relevant to the job.

2. A clean slate for childhood offences

Everyone deserves a fresh start. That’s why we want minor offences automatically erased from people’s records when they turn 18, or shortly after. A judge should review more serious cases and consider wiping the slate clean if there’s no risk of harm.

3. Moving on from short prison sentences

A one-month prison sentence shouldn’t haunt you forever. We propose a review process for deleting these sentences from standard and enhanced checks, giving people a fresh start and a chance to leave the past behind and build their future.

Here’s how you can help

This isn’t just about fairness. It’s about building a stronger society. When everyone has a chance to fulfil their potential, we all benefit.

Join us in the fight for fair checks. Together, we can create a system that empowers everyone, rather than trapping people in the past.

  • Share your story: If you’ve been affected by unfair criminal record checks, let your voice be heard. Fill in this form or email us at fairchecks@transformjustice.org.uk
  • Sign the petition: Show your support for FairChecks and help us push for change
  • Spread the word: Talk to your friends, family, and community about FairChecks

More updates

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When my mum died, I fell into addiction and went down the wrong path. After leaving prison for...
Our criminal records system cost my husband his life
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Comparing our criminal records policy with five US states
"Our criminal record disclosure requirements are much more punitive than the five U.S. states we researched"

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