The Rehabilitation of Offenders Bill 2017 will be presented to both Houses of Parliament for debate. The Explanatory Notes to the Bill are as follows:
1. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Bill, 2017 seeks to redress certain impediments which are experienced by many offenders, especially those who committed criminal offences whilst they were juveniles. These offenders later discover that their criminal records significantly impede abilities to secure certain employment opportunities; to obtain certain visas in order to travel abroad either to reside or to access educational opportunities and to ensure their own self-satisfaction.
2. Many countries have already resolved this drawback by enacting the relevant legislation. These include the USA, UK, Canada, Jamaica, Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The present Bill incorporates a number of provisions from Jamaica’s 1988 legislation which said legislation was amended in 2014 and from the 2011 legislation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Bill has four Parts.
3. Part 1 (Preliminary) contains the first three sections and deals with preliminary matters establishing the short title to the Bill, how the Bill will commence and an interpretation section.
4. Part 2 (Spent Convictions) contains sections 3 to 11. This Part provides that offenders who complete their sentences and thereafter do not reoffend for a specified period are to be regarded as “rehabilitated” at the end of that period (“the rehabilitation period”) and their convictions would be considered to be “spent”.
When the convictions of offenders are considered to be spent then for most purposes offenders would not be required to disclose their spent convictions and cannot be prejudiced by them.
5. Section 6 makes reference to the First Schedule which schedule identifies certain convictions and sentences which exclude certain offenders from being considered for being rehabilitated.
6. Section 7 makes reference to the Second Schedule which establishes the lengths of particular rehabilitation periods for particular offences. The applicable rehabilitation periods vary depending upon the lengths of the sentences.
7. Part 3 (Expungement of Spent Convictions) contains sections 12 to 20 and deals with the establishment of a Rehabilitation of Offenders Board which is responsible for deciding whether to allow expungements or not after the appropriate applications are made.
8. It is to be noted that section 71 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2012 of the Laws of Grenada also makes provision for the expungement of certain offences on the part of children but there is no provision for an application to be made for this redress by way of a Rehabilitation of Offenders Board or by way of any other board in that Act.
9. Section 20 of this Act explains the legal status of the rehabilitated person whose conviction has been expunged.
10. Part 4 (Miscellaneous) contains sections 21 and 22 and deals with miscellaneous matters.
11. There are five Schedules to the Bill.
i. First Schedule: Matters which are to be excluded from the rehabilitation process;
ii. Second Schedule: Periods of Rehabilitation for Particular Offences;
iii. Third Schedule Constitution of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Board;
iv. Fourth Schedule: Functions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Board; and
v. Fifth Schedule: Requirements for making Applications to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Board.