ABA Launches Online Database of Collateral Consequences
New Online Database Highlights Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Conviction in Each Jurisdiction, Bringing Attention to Legal Restrictions Faced by Those Convicted of a Crime
The issue of the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction has been receiving increased attention in recent years, as more and more individuals find themselves facing countless limits and restrictions once they serve their time and try to reintegrate back into society. As noted by many in the legal community, these collateral consequences faced by ex-offenders often follow a person around throughout their lifetime – limiting their ability to gain employment, housing, education and more … and have a longterm negative effect on a reformed ex-offender’s life long after they have completed their sentence.
In order to provide a way for individuals to easily identify and understand the specific collateral consequences people in each U.S. jurisdiction face for various types of crimes, the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section has just launched the National Inventory of the Collateral Consequences of Conviction. This online database, available at www.abacollateralconsequences.org, is an important new resource for individuals convicted of a crime, as well as attorneys counseling clients, in understanding the specific collateral consequences associated with a crime in their particular jurisdiction. In addition, this new database brings much-needed attention to the issue of collateral consequences providing the public — as well as lawmakers, advocacy groups and others studying the longterm effects of a criminal conviction on an ex-offenders reintegration into society – with a look at the full scope of the problem of collateral consequences and the roadblocks individuals face when released from prison.
Collateral consequences of a criminal conviction – and the harsh long-term effects of a criminal record on reformed ex-offenders – have been a cause of concern for many in the legal community over the years, particularly in states like New York which currently does not have a broad, general expungement/sealing law in place and where a criminal conviction follows a person throughout his/her entire lifetime. The problem of collateral consequences seems to be growing in recent years – in fact, according to the American Bar Association’s report, “While collateral consequences have been a familiar feature of the American justice system since colonial times, they have become more important and more problematic in the past 20 years for three reasons: they are more numerous and more severe, they affect more people, and they are harder to avoid or mitigate. As a result, millions of Americans are consigned to a kind of legal limbo because at one point in their past they committed a crime.”
The ABA Criminal Justice Section’s new online database of collateral consequences for each U.S. jurisdiction is an important new resource and tool for those with criminal convictions – and an important step in the right direction in bringing more attention to the problems faced by deserving ex-offenders as they try to reintegrate back into society. We will continue to work hard to bring the issue of the need for criminal record sealing/expunging of criminal records in New York into the forefront, as well, as we move forward in our efforts to change New York State law on criminal record sealing to give deserving ex-offenders that all-important second chance.
To access the National Inventory of the Collateral Consequences of Conviction, click here. In addition, for the latest updates about the status of criminal record sealing in New York or if you have questions about your potential eligibility for conditional record sealing after completion of a court-ordered drug program, call us at 516-294-0300.