Washington, DC (Sept. 12, 2014) -- On Thursday, September 18, 2014, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) in conjunction with Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR), and the George Mason University, will present a community discussion regarding the collateral consequences of arrest and conviction in Virginia and the United States. With more than one in four adults in the United States having some form of a criminal record, and more than 2.1 million people currently behind bars in the United States, more than any other nation in the world, the vast impact of the problem of collateral consequences and legal barriers to reentry is undeniable.
The program will focus on the barriers to re-entry and the stigmatization that affect those who have an arrest or conviction on their record. This includes the barriers formerly-convicted persons face in areas like employment and housing, as well as the loss of civil rights, such as the right to vote. While the discussion will focus on Virginia, it will feature reform recommendations from NACDL's groundbreaking report, released in May, 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.
NACDL President Theodore Simon said: "The release of NACDL's Collateral Damage report a few months ago was an important but just the first step in bringing greater attention to the scourge of the countless barriers to re-entry that prevent millions from fully returning to their lives and communities after they have served their time. As so many of these unjustified, unwarranted and unnecessary collateral consequences that befall people with arrest or conviction records are imposed on the state and local level, it is precisely through events and partnerships like this that we will be able to turn NACDL's research and reform recommendations into tangible action in jurisdictions around the nation. The time for a national conversation has arrived."
The discussion will be held in two segments. The afternoon session, from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m., will feature practitioners in the field including judges, lawyers, law enforcement, as well as individuals from the affected community who will directly address the issues of housing, employment, and restoration of rights, and then focus on the necessary reforms to alleviate them. The evening session, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., is primarily for community members interested in learning more about the issues and how they can assist those seeking re-entry after arrest or conviction.
The event will take place at George Mason University's Arlington Campus, 3301 Fairfax Dr., Arlington, Va. A flyer with complete details and registration information is available here. Please register at http://oaronline.org/collateral. Light refreshments will be served.
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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 justice system.