Persons convicted of federal or state crimes generally receive prison or jail time, probation, or fines via sentencing. However, since 2012, the National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction (NICCC), has evaluated some of the collateral consequences associated with convictions of crimes. In this regard, NICCC identified other ramifications of convictions, such as persons returning from prison can be barred from some federal benefits or assistance programs or professional licenses. Imagine being ineligible to live with your family members because they reside in public housing or being denied access to certain employment simply because your conviction denies state or federal licenses.
Specifically, the NICCC publication, Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions Judicial Bench Book, states, “Collateral consequences are legal disabilities imposed by law as a result of criminal conviction regardless of whether a convicted individual serves any time incarcerated. These consequences create social and economic barriers for individuals reentering into society by denying or restricting benefits otherwise available to all Americans. Collateral consequences are known to adversely affect adoptions, housing, welfare, immigration, employment, professional licensure, property rights, mobility, and other opportunities-the collective effects of which increases recidivism and undermines meaningful reentry of the convicted for a lifetime.”
These collateral consequences of conviction or imprisonment can be the difference in a successful or unsuccessful transition from prison for many individuals. Sadly, since 2016, NICCC has identified over 600 collateral restrictions found in federal and state laws and regulations. --Dr. Geoffrey Johnson