After reviewing the nature and impact of collateral consequences of a criminal conviction in relation to reentry and rehabilitation, this article provides information on the National Inventory of the Collateral Consequences of Conviction (NICCC), with attention to how it can be used in guiding case processing.
Collateral consequences of a criminal conviction are those adverse effects on the offender that stem from his/her conviction but are not included in the sentence imposed by the court. Some of the well-known collateral consequences of a criminal conviction are laws that prohibit offenders from voting, from possessing a firearm, from holding certain types of jobs, from living in public housing, or being barred from reuniting with a child. Such laws adversely affect an ex-offender's ability to earn a living, obtain housing, and develop relationships with family members. This, in turn, increases the risk that an ex-offender will reoffend. In order to determine the scope of these collateral consequences of a criminal conviction, the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) awarded a grant to the American Bar Association to conduct a national study of the various laws that adversely impact ex-offenders, under both State and Federal jurisdiction, who have completed their sentences. The NICCC is the result of this study. It is a publicly accessible database composed of more than 45,000 collateral consequences and civil disabilities that adversely impact ex-offenders. With this tool, users can better understand the full spectrum of effects that arise from a conviction, recognizing that a conviction may significantly undermine opportunities for financial stability and a fulfilling quality of life that will reduce the risk of reoffending. 5 notes