Administering Justice: Removing Statutory Barriers to Reentry

University of Colorado Law Review, Vol. 83, p. 715, 2012

NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 11-48

66 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2011 Last revised: 21 Jun 2012

Joy Radice

University of Tennessee College of Law

Date Written: July 5, 2011

Abstract

After years of swelling prison populations, the reentry into society of people with criminal convictions has become a central criminal justice issue. Scholars, advocates, judges, and lawmakers have repeatedly emphasized that, even after prison, punishment continues from severe civil penalties that are imposed by federal and state statutes on anyone with a conviction. To alleviate the impact of these punishments, they have increasingly endorsed state legislation that creates certificates of rehabilitation. Seven states offer these post- conviction certificates, and six others proposed such legislation in 2011. Many look to New York’s statute as the best model because it is the oldest and most robust. Yet no article has examined New York’s experience with Certificates of Rehabilitation.

This Article draws lessons from the fifty-year history of New York’s Certificates of Rehabilitation to describe features of an ideal administrative mechanism that removes statutory barriers to reentry. I argue that a model Certificate of Rehabilitation statute will have a strong enforcement mechanism and clear directives for administering authorities. Successful implementation also requires committed administrative leadership and an effective means for making certificates accessible to the population they serve. Certificates of Rehabilitation do not erase a person’s criminal history, but they offer legal and social recognition that after a criminal conviction, a person deserves a second chance.

Keywords: reentry, felon, offender, administrative, crime, criminal law, rehabilitation

Suggested Citation

Radice, Joy, Administering Justice: Removing Statutory Barriers to Reentry (July 5, 2011). University of Colorado Law Review, Vol. 83, p. 715, 2012; NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 11-48. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1864917

Joy Radice (Contact Author)

University of Tennessee College of Law ( email )

1505 West Cumberland Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996
United States
865-974-6773 (Phone)

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