The legal disabilities and social exclusions resulting from adverse encounters with the criminal justice system often erect formidable societal barriers for criminal defendants, people with criminal records, those returning to their communities after incarceration, and their families. These consequences are far-reaching, often unforeseen, and sometimes counterproductive.
The Special Committee is charged with studying the effects these collateral punishments have on New York residents who have been arrested or charged with a criminal offense, whether convicted or not, and the consequences of these punishments on their families, their communities and our society in general.
The Special Committee shall identify all of the collateral consequences of criminal proceedings; the original purpose and intent of these often hidden sanctions; their usefulness as a societal sanction; and their impact on the ability of formerly incarcerated persons to reintegrate successfully into society. This examination shall include, but not be limited to, consequences involving education, employment, disenfranchisement, immigration status, housing, and family reunification.
The Special Committee also shall analyze the role played by each criminal justice stakeholder – including the prosecution, the defense, the judiciary, the legislature, civil legal services, probation, and parole – in the imposition of these sanctions, as well as the role of each in counseling defendants about the full consequences of criminal proceedings and assisting in the appropriate mitigation of such consequences.
The Special Committee shall prepare a report recommending any appropriate reforms, both by statute and by practice, to the Executive Committee and the House of Delegates.