Collateral consequences a legacy of slavery

The debased legal and social status that results from criminal conviction is visited disproportionately on African-Americans.  Collateral consequences are the vehicle by which this country now imposes a permanent servitude on the descendants of those who were once literally owned by other human beings.  Mass conviction no less than mass incarceration is a legacy of slavery.  So we think it appropriate to commend to our readers Bryan Stevenson’s extraordinary interview for The Marshall Project in the wake of last week’s terrorist attack in Charleston.  It is incumbent on all of us to consider how the scheme of collateral penalties imposed by the criminal justice system is calculated to keep millions of Americans disenfranchised and impoverished, and to dedicate ourselves to dismantling it.

Margaret Love

Former U.S. Pardon Attorney Margaret Love represents applicants for executive clemency in her private practice in Washington, D.C.. An author of Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions (NACDL/West), she created and maintains the NACDL Restoration of Rights Resource and serves on the enactment committee of the Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act.

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