Rehabilitation of offenders
Every conviction has a rehabilitation period attached. The rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 decides the length of these periods.
During the rehabilitation period, your conviction is called ‘unspent’ and you always need to tell an employer about it when asked. When the period is over, your conviction is called ‘spent’ and you may not need to tell an employer about it anymore.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that once you’ve finished your time in prison or on probation, your offence is spent. This only happens when your rehabilitation period ends.
The rehabilitation period depends on the sentence not the nature of the crime nor whether it was suspended or not. you’ll have to disclose criminal convictions immediately after you’ve been found guilty. But in most cases your rehabilitation period begins when your sentence ends.
Look at the table below and remember that rehabilitation periods often change if you have more than one conviction.
|Disposal (sentence)||Rehabilitation period (convicted age 18 and over)||Rehabilitation period (convicted age 17 and under)|
|Compensation order||N/A||Once the payment is made in full|
|Referral order||N/A||Upon completion of order|
|Conditional discharge||Upon completion of order||N/A|
|Fine||1 year from date of conviction||6 months from date of conviction|
|Community Order, Probation Order or Youth Rehabilitation Order||1 year from end of order||6 months from end of order|
|Prison 6 months or less||2 years from end of sentence||1 ½ years from end of sentence|
|Prison >6-30 months||4 years from end of sentence||2 years from end of sentence|
|Prison >30-48 months||7 years from end of sentence||3 ½ years from end of sentence|
|Prison >48 months||Never spent||Never spent|