Collateral Consequences in the American States

Social Science Quarterly, 93(1), March 2012, 211-247

38 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2012

See all articles by Alec Ewald

Alec Ewald

University of Vermont - Department of Political Science

Date Written: April 2, 2012

Abstract

This article seeks to analyze varying collateral-consequences policies – laws restricting the rights and privileges of people who have had contact with the criminal-justice system, particularly those with conviction records – in the American states. State policies in eight areas are examined, coded, and combined into an eight-point scale, which then serves as the dependent variable for a regression analysis. The analysis models such restrictions as products of ideological and partisan, racial, and criminal-justice-based predictors. Neither Democratic party influence nor crime levels appear to influence significantly state collateral-sanctions levels; more liberal citizen ideology predicts slightly more lenient policies, while harsher restrictions accompany rising state incarceration rates. Racial variables press in opposite directions: within the model, scores rise as a state’s black population increases, but fall as the percentage of African Americans in the state legislature rises. Formally creatures of civil rather than criminal law, these “collateral” restrictions appear to possess important affinities with other punitive policies in the U.S., yet also resist unambiguous linkage to ideological, criminal-justice, and racial predictors.

Keywords: collateral consequences, collateral sanctions, state punitiveness

Suggested Citation

Ewald, Alec, Collateral Consequences in the American States (April 2, 2012). Social Science Quarterly, 93(1), March 2012, 211-247, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2033206

Alec Ewald (Contact Author)

University of Vermont - Department of Political Science ( email )

United States
(802)656-0263 (Phone)

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