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Effect of Collateral Consequence Laws on State Rates of Returns to Prison

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2013
181 pages
Tracy W. P. Sohoni
This study examined the effect on States' rates of return to prison of State "collateral-consequence" laws - specifically, prohibitions on voting, access to public records, employment, public housing, public assistance, and driver's licenses.
Data limitations restricted the study's conclusions about the impact of these laws. Results of the analysis are mixed, indicating that these laws may not have a uniform impact on States' rates of return to prison where these laws exist. Unexpectedly, the study provided some evidence that "collateral-consequences" laws may be related to lower rates of return to prison for technical violations of parole; however, future research is needed in order to confirm this association. Data from the fixed-effects analysis did indicate that States which imposed harsh restrictions on Temporary Assistance for Needy Children (TANF) experience an increase in a State's rate of return to prison; however, the analysis must be expanded to include State controls in order to draw any firm conclusions on this issue. The study measured the rates of return to prison by the percentage of prison admissions that involved individuals on conditional release, the percentage of exits from parole that were considered unsuccessful due to a return to incarceration, the percentage of exits from parole that were returned to incarceration for a new sentence, and the percentage of exits from parole that involved a return to incarceration for a technical violation. An additional fixed-effects analysis was run on the effect of restrictions on TANF over a 7-year period. 23 tables, 14 figures, and 140 references

Date Created: August 21, 2014