RMIT expert available for comment on spent convictions scheme in Victoria

RMIT expert available for comment on spent convictions scheme in Victoria

An expert from RMIT University is available to talk to the media about the Spent Convictions Bill 2020, which State Parliament is expected to pass today.

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Stan Winford (0438 080 608 or kristann.winford@rmit.edu.au)

Topics: criminal records, youth justice, specialist courts, victims of crime, access to justice and legal aid, prisons, punishment, sentencing, policing, mental health, disability and the law, drugs and the law.

“The passage of the Spent Convictions Bill 2020 would bring about a long overdue reform to correct a significant injustice.

“Until now, minor offences from more than 10 years ago could still appear on a police check when someone applied for a job, wanted to access education or care for others.

“Excluding people with old and irrelevant criminal history from participating in our communities is unfair, contrary to one of the most important functions of the criminal justice system in achieving rehabilitation, and certainly not making us safer.

“This is an injustice that has affected Aboriginal Victorians more than others, and it’s an issue that’s been heard loud and clear as part of the Criminal Record Discrimination Project.

“Aboriginal people consulted revealed a wide range of adverse impacts of criminal record discrimination relating to accessing employment, becoming a kinship carer, and contributing to the community as a volunteer or board member of an association or corporation. These consultations demonstrated that criminal record discrimination diminishes the life chances of Aboriginal people and compounds disadvantage.  

 “At a time when governments have committed to reducing barriers to tackling the overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in the justice system, and improving employment opportunities for Aboriginal Victorians, this is a critical step. It would give certainty for employers, and improve rates of labour force participation.”

Stan Winford is the Associate Director at RMIT’s Centre for Innovative Justice. He is a legal and justice system expert and a practising lawyer who authored the Criminal Record Discrimination Project’s submission calling for the establishment of a Spent Convictions scheme in Victoria. The submission can be accessed here.

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For other media enquiries, please contact RMIT Communications: 0439 704 077 or news@rmit.edu.au

18 March 2021

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18 March 2021

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