Collateral consequences

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Beyond the 1.9 million people in the U.S. who are incarcerated, tens of millions more are dealing with the "collateral consequences" of punishment. Many cannot vote or get a driver's license, face barriers to employment, and are prohibited from living with the families who want them back — all because they have a criminal record.

To end mass incarceration, we'll need to undo the policies that make people with criminal records — and formerly incarcerated people most of all — second-class citizens. Below is our key research uncovering the collateral consequences of criminal punishment:



report thumbnailRigging the jury: How each state reduces jury diversity by excluding people with criminal records

Our first-of-its-kind report shows how all 50 states exclude some people with criminal records from serving on juries, making juries less diverse and trials less fair.

report thumbnailEligible, but excluded: A guide to removing the barriers to jail voting

In partnership with Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition, we offer a concise guide to understanding which people in local jails are eligible to vote, and how to bring down barriers that these voters face to casting a ballot.

report thumbnailOut of Prison & Out of Work: Unemployment among formerly incarcerated people

Our analysis shows that formerly incarcerated people are unemployed at a rate of over 27% — higher than the total U.S. unemployment rate during any historical period. We also break down this data by race and gender.

report thumbnailNowhere to go: Homelessness among formerly incarcerated people

We find that people who have been to prison are 10 times more likely to be homeless, and also likely to be in precarious housing situations close to homelessness. Our report includes policy recommendations for solving this housing crisis.

report thumbnailGetting Back on Course: Educational attainment and exclusion among formerly incarcerated people

Our report finds that incarcerated people rarely get the chance to make up the education they've missed, impacting their ability to find work after prison.

report thumbnailReinstating Common Sense: How driver's license suspensions for drug offenses unrelated to driving are falling out of favor

10 states automatically suspend the driver's licenses of people who commit drug offenses unrelated to driving.

report thumbnailPunishing Poverty: The high cost of probation fees in Massachusetts

Our analysis finds that Massachusetts' poorest communities are hit hardest by monthly probation fees, which are rooted in harsh, "tough on crime" 1980s rhetoric and make little sense for the state today.

report thumbnailJim Crow in Massachusetts? Prisoner disenfranchisement

In 2000, Massachusetts amended its constitution to deny incarcerated people the right to vote. We provided the first analysis of how many people lost their right to vote and the racial disparity inherent in this regressive law.


issue thumbnailPublic health

Prisons and jails hurt public health: Not only do incarcerated people suffer from the low quality and high cost of care; in the long term, the communities they return to after they’re released suffer as well.

issue thumbnailProbation and parole

Community supervision programs have their own collateral consequences, such as burdensome fees and other restrictions that make it hard to lead a normal life.

issue thumbnailPrison gerrymandering

The way that the Census Bureau counts people in prison leads to a dramatic distortion of representation at local and state levels, and creates an inaccurate picture of communities for research and planning purposes.

Research Library

Didn't find what you were looking for? We also curate a database of virtually all the empirical criminal justice research available online. See the sections of our Research Library on recidivism and reentry, felon disenfranchisement, education, and community impact.

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