The Issue of “Second Chances” Continues to Make News
Recent New York Times Editorial and New Report from the NACDL Stress the “Collateral Consequences” of a Criminal Record, and Point to the Need for Criminal Record Sealing
Within the past week, the issue of the long-term negative impact of a criminal record has once again been making the news – bringing to light the problems in our criminal justice system when it comes to post-conviction roadblocks faced by ex-offenders trying to reintegrate back into the community. Throughout the country, the issue of “collateral consequences” of a past conviction is one that impacts countless individuals — with statistics indicating that more than 65 million people in the U.S. (or more than one in four adults) have a criminal record which, in states like New York where there is currently no criminal record sealing/expungement law in place, can make it nearly impossible for them to secure employment, housing and education.
An editorial in Sunday’s New York Times did an excellent job of bringing to light the need for second chances in our criminal justice system – and pointing out some of the inconsistencies of our current system. Noting how the world was ready to give Martha Stewart that all-important second chance once released from prison, the NYT editorial makes the important point that “the American ideal of second chances – especially for those with criminal records – should not be reserved only for the rich and powerful” – further noting the fact that the “raft of federal and state laws impose post-conviction restrictions on a shockingly large number of Americans, who are prevented from ever fully paying their debt to society.” To read the entire New York Times editorial, entitled “In Search of Second Chances”, click www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/opinion/sunday/in-search-of-second-chances.html?hpw&rref=opinion&_r=0
The NYT editorial was in response to last week’s release of a new report by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) — entitled Collateral Damage: America’s Failure to Forgive or Forget in the War on Crime – A Roadmap to Restore Rights and Status After Arrest or Conviction. This comprehensive new report brings to light the “collateral consequences” that are imposed on ex-offenders once released – highlighting the many laws in effect that “trigger severe penalties that continue long after punishment is complete.” To read the full report from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, click here.
Noting that “conservatives and liberals alike agree that it is unfair to continue to punish people who have already served their time”, the NYT editorial and the new NACDL report are important steps in further bringing to light the importance of the need for second chances in our criminal justice system. At CMG, we remain committed to the issue of making criminal record sealing – and second chances — a reality in New York, and will continue to keep you updated about the status and progress surrounding new/pending legislation and any further developments surrounding criminal record sealing/expungement in New York. For questions about criminal record sealing/expungement in New York, call us 24/7 at 516-294-0300.