Criminal Convictions

 This information is for applicants who have a relevant previous criminal conviction

The initial academic decision is made with no reference to the previous conviction unless it has been declared as part of your academic statement. If an offer is recommended, we then carry out a risk assessment, and may request additional information. This also allows us to start the conversation about your support needs. Once an offer is made, disclosure is kept to the minimum possible number of people, including only those who have a direct need to know as part of your support network.

There are two parts to our approach to students who have a relevant previous criminal conviction. We are obliged to assess any possible risk involved and to fulfil our duty of care to students and staff, but we are also committed to providing the best and most appropriate support to applicants in this situation, both through the application process and once they register. We have successfully supported students who have attended LSE on day release from prison (ROTL), and we encourage appropriately qualified candidates to apply.

Risk assessment

We need to know about any relevant criminal convictions that an applicant may have so that we can assess any risk appropriately and offer a supportive environment. For example, we want to support students with previous convictions to avoid or navigate situations in which they feel at risk of breaking the conditions of their licenc or of reoffending. 

Relevant criminal convictions are only those convictions for

  1. offences against the person, whether of a violent or sexual nature, and
  2. offences involving unlawfully supplying controlled drugs or substances where the conviction concerns commercial drug dealing or trafficking.

Convictions that are spent (as defined by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974) are not considered to be relevant and you do not need to reveal them.

You must tick the box on the monitoring form (the final page of the application form) if either of the following statements applies to you:

  • You have a relevant criminal conviction that is not spent
  • You are serving a prison sentence for a relevant criminal conviction.

If you enter a tick in the box we will ask for more information about the nature of the offence before making a final decision. The initial academic decision is made with no reference to your conviction, but having the information allows us to assess any risk and, more importantly, to start the conversation about your support needs. If you fail to declare any relevant criminal conviction on the application form, then this may affect your offer or registration at a later date.

If you are convicted of a relevant criminal offence after you have applied, you must tell us. You do not need to send details of the offence; simply tell us that you have a relevant criminal conviction. We may then ask you for more details.

Agency details and further information

England & Wales - Criminal Records Bureau 
Scotland - Scottish Criminal Record Office Disclosure Service

Support for students during the application process and your study

Students attending from prison (ROTL) often have particular needs due to restricted internet access, having to prove attendance, and restrictions on the number of hours you are permitted to attend LSE. Below are some issues which we have encountered in the past, and which it may be worth your while thinking about during the application process:

Risk assessment with the responsible prison officer and with our security team - as much as anything else this would be to help you to comply with the terms of your day release. Some of this will depend on the prison officer’s understanding of what studying at LSE entails, so make sure that you communicate with them as much as you can. 

Mentoring - the experience of studying at LSE can be quite intense, and you may find it hard to adjust to the new environment. We have been able in the past to find an academic mentor for students who are within the criminal justice system to provide some extra advice (away from your home department) to help you to adapt.

Proving attendance – we can set up a system whereby your attendance is monitored by using data from our swipe card entry system for LSE buildings. If this were the case for you, it is something that you would need to take responsibility for; on a campus with more than 9,000 students there is no individual who can note your attendance.

Hours of study – although your actual classroom time in lectures and seminars may be relatively few, you will be expected to work many hours on your own reading and research, and to take part in group study activities etc. Will your day-release accommodate this? It may be that part time study (if available for your chosen programme) might work better for you.

Attending non-classroom events – LSE offers a large number of public events throughout the year, many of which take place in the evening. You may need to arrange for some flexibility in the hours of your release to attend LSE, and you should discuss this in advance with the responsible prison officer.  

Social events – it would be completely up to you whether you disclosed your status to other students/teachers if you were to attend LSE. Our policy is to share this information with the smallest number of people who need to know. You may find, though, if there are restrictions on your movement when you are on day release (eg if you are not allowed to enter a pub/drink alcohol etc) that you need a strategy for dealing with invitations.

Accessing online information – a large part of studying at LSE involves the use of online resources both for academic and administrative purposes. Whilst you are at LSE, you will be able to access the internet via computers in the Library etc, but if you want to read journals or other online material (eg Moodle, our study environment) whilst preparing essays then you may find that printing them is your only means of access whilst you are not here. This can be costly and it’s worth factoring that into any application for funding. 

Locker space - we can arrange for you to have an additional locker at LSE if you need to store books/study materials on campus rather than having them with you. 

This list is not exhaustive, but it is here to give you an idea of the ways in which we can help you.