Rachel’s Story

Rachel was 19 when she went to prison for four months for arson. Despite turning her life around and staying out of trouble with the law since her conviction, the offence continues to show up on the checks which employers carry out for work.

Rachel initially wanted to study a social care degree at university but her conviction prevented that. She couldn’t go to college and had housing problems due to her criminal record. It took Rachel 11 years to find work because of her teenage conviction. She finally found work at the age of 30, mainly in the security industry which she hates, and has been turned away from volunteer positions at Citizen's Advice, because their insurance policy said no.

‘I did the stupidest thing, when I committed a crime when I went off the rails in a personal crisis. I’m not making excuses -but I’ve done my time and I’m still being punished 18 years on. The criminal records system is farcical and unfair. It doesn’t help people not to commit crime and I’ve had 11 years on benefits because of it. I know it’s important to keep society safe but people need to have a fair chance to change and rehabilitate. The records system needs to change.'

How can you help?

To create a fairer criminal record disclosure system, we need the support of MPs. You can help by contacting your local MP to tell them why you feel the system is unfair and needs to change.

You can also sign our petitions to draw attention to the movement and talk to your friends and family to encourage them to take action too!

More real stories

Peter's Story
Peter was convicted of Actual Bodily Harm 37 years ago, after acting in self-defence protecting a pregnant woman from assault.
Amir's Story
When he was 17, Amir was part of a group of young men who assaulted another man. Amir did not attack the man himself, but was prosecuted as part of the group and received a six-year prison sentence.
Maureen's Story
Maureen received her conviction at 21. Her younger sister was being verbally abused by a neighbour, and Maureen intervened and eventually shoved the man away.

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