ABA launches online database of collateral consequences

 The American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section has completed the National Inventory of the Collateral Consequences of Conviction, an online database that identifies legal restrictions imposed upon individuals convicted of crimes that go beyond any sentence imposed by a court.


Available at www.abacollateralconsequences.org, the database lists federal and state laws and regulations that restrict employment, housing, and education benefits and other opportunities for people with convictions.

“While some collateral consequences of conviction serve meaningful public safety goals, many only limit a formerly incarcerated person’s ability to find work and reintegrate into society. This, in turn, imposes high social and economic costs including increased crime, increased victimization, increased family distress, and increased pressure on already-strained state and municipal budgets,” ABA President William C. Hubbard said.

Developed with a grant from the National Institute of Justice as a provision of the Court Security Improvement Act, the database collects and analyzes the collateral consequences for each U.S. jurisdiction. The database can be used to help attorneys provide more informed counsel to clients.  It also provides lawmakers, advocacy groups and the public with accurate information about the scope of collateral consequences.

“The ABA Criminal Justice Section has sought to make its work product as widely available as possible —at no cost to the public and in one place where the data are easily found,” said James E. Felman, co-chair of the ABA Criminal Justice Section.

“The Criminal Justice Section invested substantial sums of its own money to complete the national examination of collateral consequences to show its commitment and support of this invaluable resource,” said Cynthia Orr, co-chair of the Criminal Justice Section.

The ABA supports consideration of the collateral consequences reform contained in the Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act, which is intended to tailor collateral sanctions to the conduct that resulted in a conviction and to limit situations in which a convicted person is disqualified from benefits and opportunities, consistent with public safety.

 

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