Collateral Consequences Database launched by American Bar Association

on Tuesday - September 25, 2012.

Even after someone has served their sentence for a criminal conviction, they may be restricted from certain jobs or occupations, restricted from receiving certain government benefits, denied access to certain educational programs or types of housing, and remain under other penalties or consequences.  Returning citizens, their families and the professionals who work with them may not even be aware of or understand these restrictions or know which ones apply or don't apply to their situation.

The American Bar Association has created a new online, searchable database containing information on federal and state restrictions on employment, housing, education, voting rights, family/parental rights, occupational licenses, government benefits and other restrictions on people convicted of various crimes.  The ABA created this database as part of an effort to document the extensive and often confusing federal and state laws that impose "collateral consequences" of a criminal conviction. 

The ABA site defines "collateral consequences" this way:

"Collateral consequences are the penalties, disabilities, or disadvantages imposed upon a person as a result of a criminal conviction, either automatically by operation of law or by authorized action of an administrative agency or court on a case by case basis. Collateral consequences are distinguished from the direct consequences imposed as part of the court's judgment at sentencing, which include terms of imprisonment or community supervision, or fines. Put another way, collateral consequences are opportunities and benefits that are no longer fully available to a person, or legal restrictions a person may operate under, because of their criminal conviction."  (from the "User Guide / Frequently Asked Questions" document)

At this point, the database contains information on collateral consequences in 9 states.  They will continue to document and upload information on other states in the coming weeks and months.  

Access the Collateral Consequences Database here

Resources for Returning Citizens and Their Families

Written by Melanie G. Snyder on Tuesday - August 28, 2012.

The Lancaster County RMO is pleased to offer these resources for returning citizens and their families, as well as for professionals and others who work with them:

Self Sufficiency Reference Guide: a guide to social service agencies, supportive services, free community meals, and other resources that can be helpful to individuals and families in the areas of housing, transportation, financial matters, parenting, health care, mental health, food, clothing, employment, education and other areas. Published in partnership with United Way of Lancaster County

How to Explain Jails and Prisons to Children: A Caregivers Guide - this guide provides tips for caregivers and parents to answer children's questions about having a parent in prison or jail, how to support the child and the incarcerated parent, tips for visitation and letter writing between parent and child, and other essential information to support families through this difficult situation. Published in partnership with Children of Incarcerated Parents Network of Lancaster County.

Job Search Checklist: a guide to the essential steps involved in searching for employment, especially for those who may have little to no prior employment experience. Produced by the Employment Action Team of the Lancaster County Coalition to End Homelessness.

Job Search Checklist - Forms of Identification Required for Employment: Exhibit 1 of the Job Search Checklist