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The Collateral Consequence Conundrum: Comparative Genealogy, Current Trends, and Future Scenarios

After Imprisonment

ISBN: 978-1-78769-270-1, eISBN: 978-1-78769-269-5

Publication date: 6 November 2018


Collateral consequences (CCs) of criminal convictions such as disenfranchisement, occupational restrictions, exclusions from public housing, and loss of welfare benefits represent one of the salient yet hidden features of the contemporary American penal state. This chapter explores, from a comparative and historical perspective, the rise of the many indirect “regulatory” sanctions flowing from a conviction and discusses some of the unique challenges they pose for legal and policy reform. US jurisprudence and policies are contrasted with the more stringent approach adopted by European legal systems and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in safeguarding the often blurred line between criminal punishments and formally civil sanctions. The aim of this chapter is twofold: (1) to contribute to a better understanding of the overreliance of the US criminal justice systems on CCs as a device of social exclusion and control, and (2) to put forward constructive and viable reform proposals aimed at reinventing the role and operation of collateral restrictions flowing from criminal convictions.




This chapter greatly benefited from thought-provoking conversations with Michael Tonry and Dirk van Zyl Smit. I am also sincerely appreciative of the comments of an anonymous reviewer, whose feedback proved extremely helpful in improving and refining the manuscript. This chapter is part of a larger project on the role and impact of collateral consequences of criminal convictions in contemporary penal policy.


Corda, A. (2018), "The Collateral Consequence Conundrum: Comparative Genealogy, Current Trends, and Future Scenarios", After Imprisonment (Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, Vol. 77), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 69-97.



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