We believe that section 55 operates to restrict the membership of charitable Boards. Section 55 of the legislation provides that a person -
“shall cease to be qualified for, and shall cease to hold, the position of charity trustee of a charitable organisation if that person is convicted on indictment of an offence or is sentenced to a term of imprisonment”.
At IPRT, in common with many other charitable Boards we actively seek out individuals with direct experience of the criminal justice system to properly inform our work, and that includes inviting those with lived experience of prison to sit on our Board.
It presents a serious issue when we are legally prevented from using the skills, experience and extremely valuable contributions of individuals with personal insight and experience of the issues we campaign on.
More importantly it constitutes yet another obstacle to effective reintegration and positive social involvement for people with convictions; a goal which finds clear expression in the Report of the Strategic Review Group Report on Penal Policy: “rehabilitation and reintegration as a core principle and significant factor in reducing crime”.
The Report of the Consultative Panel was launched in May 2018 and is available here. Unfortunately, our submission on the limiting nature of section 55 was not reflected in the report. IPRT will continue to engage with the Charities Regulator on this issue.