Saturday, 12 October 2013

Its Approach To Those With Convictions Who Are Trying To Rehabilitate Themselves Is Embarrassing

12th October 2013

The Tyranny of the Disclosure and Barring Service

"Britain can learn from Malaysia when it comes to rehabilitating offenders, writes Tracey McMahon

One of the biggest obstacles that people with a criminal conviction face in Britain is securing employment. I have discussed and argued this topic many times during my journey through the criminal justice system, and, as I approach the completion of my sentence, I have a fairly good understanding of how the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) operates.

Over the last 12 months we have seen the effects that the DBS (formerly the Criminal Records Bureau) can have on people with convictions from decades ago. 2012 saw candidates for the role of Police and Crime Commissioner withdrew because of historical offences.

Of course, there has to be screening in place. Arguing for the complete withdrawal of such a process would be futile. But the approach the British have towards the disclosure process is tyrannical to say the least. There is now a whole new business area involving companies that will undertake DBS screening on behalf of other companies (for a fee, naturally) and on most application forms there is a part that makes most people I know with convictions give up the prospect of working for that company."

"Any resident of Malaysia, whether a citizen or not, can apply for what is known as a “good conduct” report from the Consulate General of Malaysia. This costs as little as £3.79 and the turnaround time is around two months. The report will satisfy a job application’s conviction-reporting requirements for any Malaysian company. It truly is that easy."

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