While the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions and Certain Disclosures) Act 2016 ('the 2016 Act') went some way towards introducing a spent convictions regime, it is IPRT’s position that the 2016 Act does not go far enough. It is not of benefit to people who committed more than one offence (other than minor motoring/public order offences) in the past, no matter how long ago the offences were committed. It set a blanket 7-year rehabilitation period, providing no relationship between the severity of the sentence and the rehabilitation period, and it did not consider the special position of young adults.
The Criminal Justice (Rehabilitative Periods) Bill 2018 ('the 2018 Bill'), if enacted, will increase the number of people who can benefit from the legislation by broadening the range of convictions which may become spent, provide for proportionality in deciding when a conviction can become spent, and take account of the special position of 18-23 year olds. The Criminal Justice (Rehabilitative Periods) Bill 2018 [PMB] introduced by Senator Lynn Ruane is available to read here and a copy of its explanatory memorandum is available here.
While we had hoped the Bill could expand access even further, IPRT welcomes this Bill as a very positive step in the right direction. The 2018 Bill increases access to a ‘clean slate’ for those with convictions histories who have demonstrated that they have moved on from offending behaviour, and who want to move forward with their lives.
Read the IPRT Briefing on Criminal Justice (Rehabilitative Periods) Bill 2018 [PMB] here.