Understanding Collateral Consequences
The article, “Beyond the Sentence – Understanding Collateral Consequences”, by Sarah Berson, has a very similar theme as one of the Electronic Reserve Readings by Caroline Cooper. Berson’s article focuses on collateral consequences attached to criminal convictions. Within the National Inventory of the Collateral Consequences of Conviction are those that “involve denial of employment or occupational licensing and those that affect tangible benefits, such as education, housing, public benefits and property rights” (Berson, 2013, pg. 26).
Berson raises the same concerns as Cooper, pointing out that such consequences of a criminal conviction have a lasting impact on the lives of people who have been convicted. Although Berson doesn’t directly oppose the consequences, she does advocate for awareness of them. The argument is made that attorneys, judges, and even the defendants do not fully recognize the ramifications attached to criminal convictions.
By creating a database which inventories collateral consequences, professionals within the court will have a resource that will give them convenient access to this data. The data base can be used to study trends and patterns, examine restrictions across the states, and determine changes that can improve a convicted offender’s life after conviction (Berson, 2013). Increasing awareness of collateral consequences will hopefully contribute to more informed decision making regarding criminal convictions.
Berson, S.B., (2013, September). Beyond the sentence – Understanding collateral consequences, National Institute of Justice Journal, 272. 25-28. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/241927.pdf