The Victorian Greens strongly support the recent parliamentary committee recommendation to introduce a legislated spent convictions scheme in Victoria.
Victoria remains the only Australian state where a person’s criminal record can last forever, regardless of whether their conviction was for a minor offence that’s decades old.
The Victorian Greens introduced a private member’s spent convictions bill back in 2017, and introducing spent convictions legislation was a key part of their justice platform during the 2018 state election.
To improve the rehabilitation of ex-offenders, the Greens are also calling for discrimination based on an irrelevant criminal history by people such as potential employers and landlords to be prohibited under the Equal Opportunity Act, as is the case in Tasmania, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the ACT.
Employment and accommodation post-release from prison is key to reducing reoffending.
Quotes attributable to Greens spokesperson for justice, Dr Tim Read:
“If we want to stop the record rates of reoffending in Victoria, we must encourage the full rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders who have lived crime-free since committing a minor offence.
“Discrimination on the grounds of an irrelevant criminal history serves to further undermine a person’s reintegration into the community.
“While this clearly costs the individual involved, it also costs the community in terms of promoting a higher rate of criminal reoffending.
“Stopping this discrimination is logical and long overdue.”