Washington, DC (February 15, 2013) – With more than 65 million Americans possessing a criminal record, the consequences of conviction – specific legal barriers, generalized discrimination, and social stigma – have become more numerous and severe, more public, and more permanent. These restrictions affect jobs and licenses, housing, public benefits, judicial rights, parental rights, interstate travel, and even volunteer opportunities. Moreover, the legal mechanisms relied on in the past to restore rights and status for formerly convicted individuals have atrophied or become ineffective, with the result that a significant percentage of the American public is permanently consigned to second class citizenship.
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ (NACDL) Task Force on Restoration of Rights and Status After Conviction will hold its fifth set of hearings to undertake an inquiry into how legal mechanisms for relief from the collateral consequences of conviction are essentially working, in both state and federal systems, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, February 20-22, 2013, in Washington, D.C.
The Washington, D.C. panelists include (a link to the complete agenda and witness list is below): Ben Jealous, President, NAACP; Dr. Gabriela Lemus, Senior Advisor to Secretary Director of Public Engagement, Department of Labor; Honorable Robert Ehrlich, former Maryland Governor; Bobby Vassar, Chief of Staff, Office of Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA); Sam Morison, former Staff Attorney with the United States Pardons Office; Todd Cox, Director of the Office of Community and Legislative Affairs, EEOC; Katherine Culliton-González, Senior Attorney and Director of Voter Protection for Advancement Project; Kristopher Baumann, Chairman, Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), Metropolitan Police Department Labor Committee; Nancy Ware, Director, Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency; and individuals from the affected community including, Kemba Smith, President of Kemba Smith Foundation, Author of Poster Child, and granted clemency by President Clinton; Lawrence Garrison, real estate agent; and Lamont Carey, President/CEO, LaCarey Entertainment.
The Task Force’s inaugural hearing was held in Chicago, Illinois, October 2011, followed by hearings in Miami in February, Cleveland in April and San Francisco in July. The final hearing will be held in New York City in May. Witnesses have shared a range of personal and professional experiences, perspectives and expertise on the important practical issues surrounding barriers to re-entry and the collateral consequences of a criminal record. Over two dozen witnesses in Washington, D.C. will include representatives from federal agencies, community based organizations, attorneys, law enforcement, researchers, civil rights advocates, as well as, individuals with convictions who themselves confronted barriers to re-entry.
The results of these regional hearings will be compiled into a report that will identify the best practices that help facilitate the full restoration of rights and status of an individual post a conviction. In addition, the report will provide policy recommendations that jurisdictions on the state and federal level can implement to help ensure that those with convictions can be put on a path to secure the full restoration of their rights and status.
If you are interested in attending part or all of these hearings, please register at http://restorationdc.eventbrite.com/ or contact NACDL’s State Legislative Affairs Director Angelyn C. Frazer at email@example.com or at (202) 465-7642 by the close of business on Tuesday February 19, 2013.
For more information about the Task Force, please visit the website at www.nacdl.org/criminaldefense/restoration/
Wednesday February 20, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST
Thursday, February 21 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST
Friday February 22, 2013 from 9 a.m.to 5:30 p.m. EST
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The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.