Ex-cons urge state to cut records so they can 'go straight'

Former prisoners have urged the government to reduce the period for which a criminal record is kept to five years, as it limited their chances of "going straight", a conference heard yesterday.

Former prisoners have urged the government to reduce the period for which a criminal record is kept to five years, as it limited their chances of "going straight", a conference heard yesterday.

"If the criminal record is there for a lifetime, then you are saying 'go back and commit crime'," said Thabo Makgaretsa, one of the conference coordinators.

"Prisoners get rehabilitated when inside, but the community and the corporate world do not give them the support, motivation and chance to redirect their lives once they out of prison," he said.

A ex-prisoner, Unathi Myoyo, 28, said he also found it "very difficult" to find a job and get financial help for his company because of his criminal record.

"You are sentenced by the community, family and corporate world. What are you supposed to do?" Myoyo asked. - Sapa

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