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December 24, 2014

"Relief in Sight? States Rethink the Collateral Consequences of Criminal Conviction, 2009-2014"

States-rethink-collateral-consequences-infographic-v3The title of this post is the title of this notable new report from The Vera Institute of Justice. Here are excerpts from the report's summary:

Collateral consequences of criminal convictions are legion and present significant and often insurmountable barriers to housing, public benefits, employment, and even certain civil rights (e.g., voting rights) for people with criminal histories well after sentence completion.

Lessening the burden of post-punishment penalties has become a matter of significant bipartisan state-level legislative activity in recent years.  In this report, Vera’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections provides (1) concise summaries of representative legislation, (2) an analysis of the limitations of current reforms, and (3) recommendations for making future efforts sustainable and comprehensive.

Since 2009, forty-one states and the District of Columbia, enacted 155 pieces of legislation to mitigate collateral consequences for people with certain criminal convictions.  In reviewing this legislative activity, Vera found that states have pursed one or a combination of seven broad approaches to reform.  They created or expanded expungement and sealing remedies; issued certificates of recovery; allowed for offense downgrades; built relief into the criminal justice process; ameliorated employment-related collateral consequences; improved access to information; and addressed discrete collateral consequences.

While efforts to remove or alleviate the impact of collateral consequences may indicate a broader shift in how the criminal justice system views law-breakers, vast numbers of post-punishment penalties remain in place and a closer look at recent legislation suggests that efforts do not go far enough.  In particular:

  • Reforms are narrow in scope;
  • Relief mechanisms are not easily accessible;
  • Waiting periods are long in many cases; and
  • New rules restricting third-party use of criminal history are difficult to enforce.

December 24, 2014 at 11:02 AM | Permalink


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The lawyer dumbass is missing something really huge. He can find it in the mirror. The lawyer will revoke the license of entities hiring felons. It will sue them for negligent hiring if anything goes wrong. Crush the regulatory lawyer, crush the tort litigator if you do not like collateral consequences.

I take a middle course. Collateral consequences are good if relevant to the job. Sex offender: cashier OK, child care not OK. Thief: child care OK, cashier not OK.

The sole problem with this middle course is that criminals have no specialization in their immorality, so thieves are sex offenders, and sex offenders are thieves.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Dec 24, 2014 2:41:20 PM

I would like to start new collateral consequence. The Boycott List.

Enact an unjustified collateral consequence, start a registry. Listed.

Pass a harmful, unscientific regulation. Listed.

File a frivolous lawsuit. Allow a frivolous lawsuit to proceed. Listed.

Enact a stupid law. Listed.

All rent seekers. Listed.

Loose a criminal. Protect a criminal. Attack our way of life. Hurt our economy. Slow progress. Go on a witch hunt. Impose any PC. Listed.

No service or product provider may serve the person, enforced by direct action against any boycott breaker, any collaborator with the criminal cult enterprise tyrannizing our people gets roughed a bit. Repeat and get burned out. The list gets linked to credit card verification. Let these traitors live in the Stone Age, as they seek to destroy our nation.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Dec 25, 2014 10:08:09 AM

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