Collateral Sanctions

The Intended Collateral Consequences of Felony Convictions

Authored by: Tanya N. Whittle

Handbook on the Consequences of Sentencing and Punishment Decisions

Print publication date:  August  2018
Online publication date:  August  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138608931
eBook ISBN: 9780429466380
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter reviews collateral consequences of punishment with particular focus on collateral sanctions of felony convictions. Collateral consequences of punishment include informal diminishment of convicted felons’ status in society, social bonds, and future opportunities. Although typically considered unintended and informal, collateral consequences are made legal and codified in society via collateral sanctions. Collateral sanctions are laws and policies that formalize disadvantage and legalize discrimination against persons with criminal convictions. This chapter discusses the numerous forms of collateral sanctions that exist and reviews what is currently known about collateral sanctions’ relationship with crime and recidivism. This chapter concludes by discussing how collateral sanctions that are written in race- and class-neutral terms disproportionately impact minorities, which compounds existing concentrated disadvantage.

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