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Issue 7

The Record

Issue 7

The free newsletter for law-abiding people facing discrimination and inequality as a result of a criminal record

December 2011

Happy christmas! Letter from the Editor ERICA CROMPTON

ROA reform rears its head in Parliament again this month and Julie Harmsworth is hot on the case: keenly reporting, on the bill’s movements. Among the many features we’ve included in The Record we’ve not yet featured alternative perspectives on reformed offenders. So this month we’ve decided to be more inclusive. The family and friends of those with criminal records are silent victims of crime. This is timely due to the release of We Need to Talk About Kevin, portraying the harrowing experience of Eva, mother of sociopath and every parents’ worst nightmare, Kevin the über-con. While we can see it’s a shame that Hollywood’s screenwriters and producers – those who dictate the conversation of the global media at large – focus on yet another mass murderer with deep psychiatric problems as the criminal – the shift in perspectives is of note. We’ve also had our own contribution to said conversation in several quality newspapers this month, including The Mail on Sunday and the Observer. We’re pleased to bring concrete news that times are changing and we’re keen to move with the tide. Naturally, we feel there’s a quite lot to celebrate, so expect a little break from us over New Year and we’ll be back with a special bumper issue on the 1st February. In the interim, wishing everyone a warm, hearty Christmas. Hopefully Parliament will provide us with the appropriate present sometime soon! Join UNLOCK as a Member to receive your free copy of The Record directly every month. Click here.

reform, on repeat Government announce ROA reform (again!) julie harmsworth

Yes, we’ve heard it all before – Ministers say reform is on the agenda for this ancient millstone of an Act but it has so far failed to jump the final hurdle of Prime Ministerial agreement. Once heralded in Justice Minister Ken Clarke’s “Rehabilitation Revolution” Green Paper, there has been no action and little comment from Whitehall on the matter. Pressure has been met with tired expressions. Hopes had been high that the Protection of Freedom Bill would act as a legislative vehicle for any reform but the Bill remains silent on the ROA. Meanwhile, supported by UNLOCK, Lord Dholakia’s ROA Amendment Bill to cut rehabilitation periods has moved steadily through the House of Lords. What a welcome alleluia-moment then to hear during the third reading debate


on the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill (LASPO) on 21st November, Minister of State, Lord McNally state, “I can also announce today the Government intend to introduce reforms to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, the outdated operation of which inhibits rehabilitation. We intend to bring forward amendments to achieve the right balance between the need to protect the public while removing unnecessary barriers to prevent reformed offenders contributing to society” [Column 823 Hansard]. (Continued on p.2)

Index P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 P8

Editor’s Letter, Reform on repeat Clarke Cracks Down, Design Skills Balls Needed for Better Behaviour My Brother: The Brit in a US Jail Book Extract, On The Forum Second Chance Press & Media

The Record December 2011  

Issue 7 (December 2011) of The Record, the free newsletter for law-abiding people facing discrimination and inequality as a result of a crim...

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