Right on Crime Policy Director Marc Levin is featured in a recent American Bar Association Journal article advocating for policies that reduce the collateral consequences facing ex-offenders.

Levin discusses how barriers to law-abiding conduct and diminished feelings of social engagement lead to continued illegal behavior. For example, many ex-offenders cannot afford the steep fines required to regain their driver’s licenses, so they choose to risk another arrest by driving without one. (For ex-offenders who live in areas with limited public transportation options, driving is often necessary for getting to work and regularly meeting with a probation officer.)

As Levin astutely notes, “A lot of modern research has shown that you want to make the path of law-abidingness very attractive . . . and you want to make the path of continuing to break the law very unattractive. So that calls into question the habit in our society of continuing to punish people for many years.”

The article notes that collateral consequences have come under heavy scrutiny in recent years, partially due to Padilla v. Kentucky, in which the Supreme Court ruled that criminal defense attorneys must advise non-citizen clients about the deportation risks of a guilty plea. While some states have made changes to reduce collateral consequences, Right on Crime continues to work towards their reduction so that ex-offenders can keep their lives on track and fully contribute to society.