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Restoration of Rights and Status After Conviction

The consequences of conviction – specific legal barriers, generalized discrimination, and social stigma – have become more numerous and severe, more public, and more permanent. The legal mechanisms relied on in the past to restore rights and status – pardons, expungements, certificates of good conduct -- have atrophied or become ineffective, with the result that a significant percentage of the American public is permanently consigned to second class citizenship. 

NACDL is proud to have several projects aimed at examining the collateral consequences of these convictions. The goal is to provide policy recommendations and laud existing best practices that jurisdictions can engage in to effectively decrease the economic, political, and social stigmas associated with a criminal conviction.

Shattering the Shackles of Collateral Consequences: Exploring Moral Principles and Economic Innovations to Restore Rights and Opportunity

On August 23–25, 2018, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) hosted its 17th Annual State Criminal Justice Network (SCJN) Conference and 2nd Annual Presidential Summit in Atlanta, Georgia — Shattering the Shackles of Collateral Consequences: Exploring Moral Principles and Economic Innovations to Restore Rights and Opportunity. On June 4, 2019, NACDL released its report on and videos of the conference.

Restoration of Rights Report

On Thursday May 29, 2014, NACDL launched 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 

Over 100 people attended the report launch. Poignant testimony was provided by Lamont Carey, a business owner and individual with a conviction; several policy analysts; former Governor Robert Ehrlich; former Congressman J.C. Watts; and former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik who also has a conviction on his record. The speaker bios are available here and the agenda is available here. The video webcasting of the event is available here.

To view the report, transcripts, and information about the project click here.

As a part of this report and its rollout, the Task Force would like to include stories from individuals who have lost their rights as a result of a plea or a guilty verdict. The Task Force encourages those affected by collateral consequences of a conviction to complete the survey. To learn more, visit http://www.nacdl.org/restorationsurvey/.

"The country was built on the belief that each human being has limitless potential and worth. Everybody matters. We believe that even those who have struggled with a dark past can find brighter days ahead. One way we act on that belief is by helping former prisoners who've paid for their crimes -- we help them build new lives as productive members of our society." 

-- Former President, George W. Bush 

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