Friday, May 4th 2012: Business in the Community Ireland, the network for responsible business, today welcomed the publishing of the Criminal Justice (Spent Convictions) Bill from Minister Alan Shatter. The bill provides for certain convictions to become spent after an individual remains conviction-free for between three and seven years, depending on the sentence originally imposed by the courts. Custodial sentences of one year or less as well as a range of non-custodial sentences are also covered by the Bill.
Business in the Community Ireland run a number of employment programmes aimed at helping marginalized people back into employment. For a decade it worked on helping place former offenders into jobs, training and education. In March 2012, IASIO, a new entity was founded and now run these programmes. When working in this area, Business in the Community Ireland advocated for the expungement of sentences as it was seen as a major blockage for getting people back into work. Therefore, the publication of this bill is warmly welcomed.
Tina Roche, CEO of Business in the Community Ireland commented, “This really is a watershed moment for the criminal justice system in Ireland. This Bill is an important first step in helping the rehabilitation of people who have paid their debt to society. From our experience of working with thousands of former offenders over a decade, the stigma of having a criminal record can pose serious challenges for moving on with their lives so the Bill provides vital progress in this area”.