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September 24, 2018

"Extending 'Dignity Takings': Re-Conceptualizing the Damage Caused by Criminal History and Ex-Offender Status

The title of this post is the title of this new paper authored by Jamila Jefferson-Jones now available via SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The consequences of a criminal conviction extend far beyond “time served”: Ex-offenders often face social and civil stigmas and disabilities that continue for the rest of their lives.  These collateral consequences cause real harm to the reputation, dignity, and livelihood that can be difficult to quantify in the strictly economic analysis used in traditional constitutional takings analysis.  These collateral consequences are a form of dignity taking which deprive the ex-offender of their status as a full member of society.  Bernadette Atuahene originated the idea of “dignity takings”, eventually settling on a definition that combines a traditional government taking of property with an outcome of dehumanization or infantilization.  Scholars have applied this analysis to a number of cases of tangible property, but have only just begun to expand it into the criminal justice and reputational harm cases.

By applying the framework of dignity takings to the difficulties faced by ex-offenders in their reentry to society, I will demonstrate how we can better express the harms caused by the collateral consequences of conviction.  By doing so, we can focus our attention not on economic damage and restitution, but the restoration of lost dignity and humanity.

September 24, 2018 at 11:23 PM | Permalink


Sorry but this is not a situation of a taking but instead willful abandonment on the part of the offender. The conviction only serves to make it official.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Sep 25, 2018 12:51:01 AM

Horse puckey....not when the so-called taking is done via a change in the law done years if not decades the conviction.

Posted by: Rodsmith | Sep 25, 2018 10:16:21 AM

Hey Soronel, ever hear of the concept of doing one's time for being convicted of the crime? So why would punishment continue after doing one's time? Only in America, Soronel, or rather not since the Middle Ages, where the concept of civil death was invented. Do the time for the crime and then be reabsorbed back into society. The idea of never being re-absorbed? That is positively Mideval.

Posted by: restless94110 | Sep 25, 2018 11:58:03 PM

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