Collateral consequences constitute public safety issue

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Collateral consequences constitute public safety issue

ABA Criminal Justice Section Chair Mathias H. Heck Jr. emphasized in testimony last month that collateral consequences of conviction often are at odds with public safety when they work to prevent ex-offenders from finding employment and becoming productive citizens. Heck, testifying during a June 26 hearing before the House Judiciary Task Force on Over-Criminalization, explained that collateral consequences, labeled the “hidden world of punishment” by Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, encompass a wide range of restrictions on ex-prisoners that include disenfranchisement, deportation, loss of professional licenses, felon registration, and ineligibility for certain public welfare benefits.

The ABA urged the House Education and the Workforce Committee to move ahead expeditiously on H.R. 4122, a bill introduced June 13 to reauthorize the Older Americans Act of 1965.

A new study launched by the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) is analyzing SSA’s laws, regulations, policies, and practices concerning evaluation of claimants’ symptoms, including pain, in the adjudication of Social Security disability claims.

The ABA has launched the new Veterans’ Claims Assistance Network (ABA VCAN) to recruit volunteer lawyers to provide free assistance to unrepresented veterans who request their help in completing their disability claims before the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).


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