Rehabilitation of Offenders

Rehabilitation of offenders is one of the core aims of the justice process in Scotland.

Rehabilitation of Offenders FAQ

A: The length of time you have to disclose a criminal conviction to employers and other organisations depends on the length of sentencing. A criminal sentence of 12 months or less will need to be disclosed for the duration of the sentence plus 2 years. Whereas a sentence of 4 years or more must always be disclosed until your situation is reviewed.
A: One of the major contributors to re-offending is gaining employment. One of the major barriers to gaining employment is not having a criminal record. An expert criminal defence lawyer can help reduce or even have charges acquitted. This can help you gain employment and leave crime in the past.

The debate around whether imprisonment for less severe offences is useful in this process has raged for decades. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 sets out when a conviction no longer has to be disclosed to employers. It is this legislation that has become the driving force for change. It is estimated that a third of men in Scotland and one in ten women in Scotland have one or more criminal convictions. With many becoming re-offenders once released.

Unemployment and reoffending

One of the strongest links to reoffending is whether a person can gain employment after their release. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 determines when convictions are ‘spent’; meaning a person is treated as they had not committed the offence. The Scottish Government have recently introduced the Management of Offenders (Scotland) Act 2019, which aims to remove barriers to gaining employment after a conviction. A custodial sentence not exceeding 12 months now only has to be disclosed for the duration of the sentence plus 2 additional years. This is in stark contrast to before this act was introduced where an adult (over 18 ) imprisoned for 6 – 30 months, would have to disclose to employers their criminal record for the next 10 years. This has had a hugely detrimental effect on offenders’ ability to gain employment which has led to reoffending. 

Criminal defence lawyer Scotland

Crimes that result in imprisonment over 48 months are excluded sentences. This means they will not become spent after a certain amount of time. Instead, a review process will be put in place to determine how long an offender must disclose these convictions.

This is why having expert lawyers is important. A criminal defence lawyer that can reduce your imprisonment or win an acquittal will significantly benefit your chances of putting a criminal past behind you. In particular, avoiding a sentence that is 48 months or longer is crucial in allowing rehabilitation of offenders to take place. 

Legal aid Scotland

Scottish legal aid is available to people charged with a crime. At Graham Walker Solicitors we are members of the Scottish legal aid board. This means you can get the best representation, and you may not have to pay a penny. Please speak to us about what your options are.