We want to help young people find ways to overcome the stigma, prejudice and discrimination they face because of their criminal record.
The criminal justice system rightly treats under 18s differently to adults, but there is a “cliff-edge” at 18. Suddenly treated as “adults”, over 18s receive harsher sentences and can no longer access youth support services. Yet the early twenties is a pivotal age for rehabilitation – this is when people need most help if they are to turn their lives around. The stigma of having to disclose a criminal record at this crucial stage can hold people back just as they are approaching adulthood.
Unlock has successfully helped bring changes to the criminal records system, including, in 2020, a fairer approach for people convicted as children. Now we want to find out how we can better help young people with a criminal record aged 18-25. We want to find out, from young people themselves, how the current complex system prevents them accessing education, training & employment, keeping them rooted in an unhappy past - and learn how we can help them break the cycle of disadvantage.