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Feedback from Discussions on the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 with People Inside Scottish Prisons

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2 DISCUSSIONS WITH PRISONERS - NEGATIVES

2.01 Extensive lack of understanding of need to disclose convictions.

2.02 Significant minority planning to lie about having one or more convictions or ever having been in prison.

2.03 Limited awareness of the ease with which information about individuals with convictions can be found on the internet.

2.04 Widespread feeling that the ROA is a barrier to employment.

2.05 Widespread feeling that the ROA reinforces the stigma of having a criminal record.

2.06 Widespread feeling ROA does not affect how people who know you or know of you treat you after release.

2.07 Widespread feeling ROA does not affect how people feel able to treat you as a criminal even though a sentence (punishment) has been completed.

2.08 A small minority convinced the whole system, including the ROA, is part of a conspiracy by the judiciary, police and government to prevent people with convictions from having any chance to rehabilitate.

2.09 Extensive lack of awareness of ROA amongst short term prisoners - significant proportion of prisoners have no knowledge of terms such as 'spent' and 'unspent' in relation to their convictions.

2.10 Widespread feeling that existing ROA restricts options to move on constructively in life after a sentence by creating a barrier that very few people are able to negotiate successfully.

2.11 Extensive lack of understanding of how rehabilitation periods can be extended if an offence is committed before expiry of the original rehabilitation period.

2.12 Significant minority resigned to never having a job after release. Partly because they've never been in employment and also because they feel they would not be able to find any work due to their record.

2.13 Frustration, verging on anger in some cases, that recruiting employers can discriminate against people having any kind of a conviction without any sanction (as in reject an application out of hand).

2.14 Considerable support for a ban on questions relating to any conviction on job application forms and for a standard process of disclosure to be put in place for use in event of being short-listed.