On release from prison and on arrival back in the UK, one of your priorities may be to find employment and/or enter training and volunteer schemes. Many employers ask at some point if you have been convicted of an offence and if your convictions are unspent. When they do you legally need to disclose them.  If they ask you and you don’t disclose, they could later revoke the job offer or you could be dismissed. You could even face a further conviction. Therefore it is important for you to fully understand how, when, what and who to disclose convictions to. 

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) allows most convictions and all cautions, reprimands and final warnings to be considered spent after a certain period. This period – known as the rehabilitation period – is determined by the sentence or disposal given, rather than by the type of offence. The ROA gives people with spent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings the legal right not to disclose them when applying for most jobs, most courses and all insurance purposes.

Most jobs are covered by the ROA, but some are exempt. If you apply for a job that is exempt from the ROA, the employer is entitled to request details of spent and unspent convictions and cautions that are not protected (i.e. eligible for filtering) and is entitled to take this information into account when determining your suitability for the role.

Prisoners Abroad have produced the following information sheet that provides a general overview:

Applying for work with a criminal record

Useful information can also be found here:

Unlock

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