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Collateral Consequences for Formerly Incarcerated Individuals: General – Factsheet

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Key Facts:

Fact 1:

Collateral consequences is an umbrella term used to describe all of the sanctions and limitations that prevent individuals with criminal backgrounds from participating in society.

Fact 2:

These barriers are often discussed in the context of employment and education, but collateral consequences can also impede individuals from accessing government benefits and programs, and housing.

Fact 3:

Collateral consequences are experienced by individuals in reentry but can also impact those who may not have served time in a correctional institution but still carry a prior misdemeanor and never served time.
Collateral consequences can negatively impact individuals with a conviction even if they were never incarcerated.

Fact 4:

There is a national database that has been set up to assist individuals with criminal convictions to better understand what collateral consequences may be related to their specific convictions. The National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction (NICCC) interactive database can be used as a resource to assist in counseling individuals with past criminal convictions in understanding their employment options.

Fact 5:

State and local policies vary widely on consideration of criminal backgrounds in hiring decisions, so it will be important to seek out and review these policies as well.

Fact 6:

As a general rule, a prior conviction should only deny access to employment if the conviction is closely related to the job after considering the nature of the job, the nature of the offense, and the time that has passed since the offense occurred.

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