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Sen. Patrick Leahy to Help ABA Launch New Public Web Database on Collateral Consequences of Conviction

Sen. Patrick Leahy to Help ABA Launch New Public Web Database on Collateral Consequences of Conviction

By Daniel Buchanan

WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 17, 2012 — Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) will give opening remarks at the launch of a new online database that allows users to search for state and federal laws and rules that hinder people with a criminal record from finding work, securing licenses or housing, obtaining an education, or keeping their families together. The American Bar Association Section of Criminal Justice, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice, will demonstrate the “National Inventory of the Collateral Consequences of Conviction” website on Sept. 19 from 4 – 5 p.m. at the Russell Senate Office Building, room 428-A, in Washington, D.C.

Greg Ridgeway, deputy director for the National Institute of Justice, will also speak during the launch of the publicly accessible database.

People with conviction records face barriers that extend beyond their sentences. State and federal laws and rules restrict their access to many benefits and opportunities, making it difficult for these individuals to successfully integrate into society. The website is designed to help practicing lawyers, lawmakers and policy advocates recognize the scope and impact of such laws and disqualifications, and also help affected individuals understand their rights and responsibilities.

The database currently hosts information on federal statutes and regulations, as well as similar data from nine states: Vermont, Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, Wisconsin, South Carolina and New York. Data from other states will be coming online over the next 18 months.

The launch will feature a demonstration of the various functions of the website, which include the ability to search and sort federal and state laws together or separately, by keyword and by category of consequence and triggering offense. Users will also be able to perform inter-jurisdictional comparisons and national analyses.

For media credentialing, please contact Rabiah Burks at Rabiah.Burks@Americanbar.org. This event is free and open to members of the press.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

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