Nearly half a million childhood convictions from more than 30 years ago have been disclosed on criminal record checks in the past five years, according to data uncovered by the charity Unlock.

A further half a million criminal records relating to convictions more than 30 years ago when the person was a young adult aged 18 to 25 were disclosed in the same period.

In early adulthood, the majority of the problems faced related to employment. However, almost half of those surveyed referred to problems accessing education, particularly university, and more than a third cited problems with perceived stigma and discrimination.

Practical issues, such as insurance, travel and housing, were also prominent later in life.
Its report, A Life Sentence for Young People, also reveals the findings of a survey of people with convictions and cautions, which shows 86% of respondents had a problem with employment later in life. About two-thirds also reported problems with stigma and discrimination.

Christopher Stacey, the co-director of Unlock, said:

This report shines a spotlight on the sheer number of very old and minor criminal records being unnecessarily and arbitrarily disclosed on standard and enhanced DBS checks. From employment, volunteering and studying at university, to travelling abroad and buying home insurance, this report shows how a criminal record represents a significant barrier to thousands of people, even decades later.”

You can find out more about the work Unlock do here.