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Youth criminal record system blighting young people's job chances - MPs

2 min read

Failures in the youth criminal record system are hampering young people in getting on with their lives, a damning report from MPs has said.

The justice committee found that a childhood criminal record could “follow someone around for decades” and hinder access to jobs, housing, education and visas for overseas travel.

The Conservative MP who chairs the committee, Bob Neill, said too often employers were not making an “objective and balanced” assessment of a candidate with unspent convictions.

The cross-party group is urging ministers to change public sector recruitment rules so applicants do not have to tick a box saying they have a criminal record.

The MPs also want to see more discretion over which offences can be expunged from a person’s record, with only more serious offences remaining.

Which offences were visible to employers could also be filtered, the committee suggested.

Chief police officers should also be allowed to withhold disclosure of offences committed before an individual was 18, the committee suggested.

 “The Government confirmed to us that its primary objective in youth justice is to stop people being drawn into crime, with consequent blighting of their life chances, as well as harm being caused to victims and communities,” Mr Neill said.

“But these laudable aims are systematically undermined by the current disclosure regime; mistakes made as a teenager can follow someone around for decades and create a barrier to rehabilitation, as well as profound problems with access to employment and education.”

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