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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-09628: Johann Lamont (Glasgow)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 7 June 2017

To ask the Scottish Government when it will announce its proposed reforms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and, in light of the consultation on this ending in December 2013, what the reason has been for the delay.

Answered by: Michael Matheson 16 June 2017

In 2013, the Scottish Government published a discussion paper to explain how the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 operated and to gather evidence and views from stakeholders to help consider what changes may be required to modernise and improve the legislation. Analysis of the responses received was published in April 2014. Using the feedback, a consultation paper setting out specific proposals for reforming the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 was published in 2015. The consultation closed in August 2015 and an analysis of the consultation responses were published in December 2015.

Although the analysis of the consultation revealed support for the general thrust of the proposed reforms, some issues were raised which require further consideration. The Scottish Government is committed to making appropriate reforms to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 in Scotland to ensure it strikes the correct balance between the rights of people not to disclose their previous offending behaviour and to move on with their lives while also ensuring the rights of the public to be protected are effectively maintained. It is anticipated that reform of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 will be taken forward in this session of Parliament and specific proposals will be announced in due course.