ABA Criminal Justice Section

Re-Entry & Collateral Consequences Committee E-News

                                                       July 2008 (No. 1)


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            We are very pleased to welcome you to the first edition of the Re-Entry and Collateral Consequences Committee newsletter!  We’ve had a busy year so far and plan to keep up the momentum throughout 2008 and into 2009.  This year, the Committee has worked hard to bring re-entry issues to the forefront of the legal system by co-sponsoring several programs, including conferences in Washington, D.C. and Brooklyn, New York.  In addition, our co-chairs have been busy speaking, making presentations, and joining panels at conferences and training seminars across the country.

            This edition covers several of the most recent, innovative, and important advances in the field of re-entry and collateral consequences.  First, we evaluate one of the most successful and often duplicated re-entry programs in New York, Brooklyn’s ComALERT program.  Then there is an in-depth analysis of the newly passed Second Chance Act and its implications for nationwide re-entry programs.  Next, we look into Massachusetts’ CORI Reform and what it means for those re-entering Massachusetts communities.  Then, David McKnight, a partner at Baxley Dillard Dauphin McKnight & Barclift in Birmingham, Alabama, takes a look at the collateral consequences for criminal convictions in Alabama.  April Frazier, Deputy Director, National H.I.R.E. Network discusses the recent training seminar hosted by the ABA Commission on Effective Criminal Sanctions. The newsletter also includes remarks from Attorney General Musakey, information regarding the ABA Criminal Justice Section’s Conference, and upcoming conferences.

            Many of you have sent us information regarding your activities, including research and conferences you’re attending and sponsoring.  We’ve compiled these activities at the end of the newsletter to keep you abreast of the newest developments in the field of re-entry, as well as to provide you with the resources to become more active in this developing field.  As always, we welcome your submissions to the Re-Entry and Collateral Consequences Committee newsletter.  We’re always on the lookout for not only your articles on re-entry issues, but also information regarding your activities and any upcoming conferences.

            As co-chairs we would like to especially thank Melissa Morris, a student at Brooklyn Law School, for her invaluable assistance with this newsletter.

                                          Michael Costello, Lance P. Ogiste, Lisa Charna Smith



Introducing New Co-Chair, Michael Costello

Massachusetts State Representative Michael Costello has dedicated his career to Public Service. Mike was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2002. He serves the First Essex District, which includes the Cities of Newburyport and Amesbury, and the Town of Salisbury. For more information click here.


Activities of Members

  • At the November 2007 Committee meeting in Washington, D.C., the Committee sponsored presentations by Executive Director of the New York State Division of Parole Felix Rosa and Illinois Prisoner Review Board Commissioner Jorge Montes.
  • At the April 2008 Committee meeting in Charleston, S.C., the committee sponsored a comprehensive presentation on the Second Chance Act of 2007 by Gene Guerrero with the Open Society Institute.
  • In May 2008, co-chairs Lance Ogiste and Lisa Smith spoke at the New York State Women’s Bar Association Annual Conference, along with Michael Pinard, a professor of law at University of Maryland School of Law, on the collateral consequences of criminal convictions and offender re-entry.
  • In September 2007, Co-Chair Lance Ogiste gave a presentation to federal prosecutors at the Project Safe Neighborhoods Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • On June 23 and July 7, 2008, co-Chair Lisa Smith participated in a panel on collateral consequences at the New York Office of Court Administration Judicial Training Conference.















ABA Annual Meeting

CJS CLEs and Meetings During the ABA Annual Meeting

August 7-12, New York City


From legal programs on the effects of the economic slowdown on banks to what criteria U.S. presidents should use in selecting federal judges to an examination of the recent Supreme Court ruling regarding the Guantanamo Bay detainees, the American Bar Association Annual Meeting in New York City, Aug. 7 – 12, promises to offer outstanding legal programs, events and speakers.
With more than 1,500 top quality legal programs and events, and presentations by the foremost law experts and speakers, including U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, the ABA Annual Meeting is the nation’s premier gathering of legal professionals. See


For listing of other Section-sponsored events, visit Section Calendar.


Upcoming Events of Interest to Committee Members

  • September 29, 2008.  San Francisco’s Safe Community Re-Entry Council’s 3d Annual Re-entry Summit.  San Francisco, California.  For more information, visit their website.
  • October 16-19, 2008.  National Prisoner Re-Entry Conference 2008.  Radisson Hotel, Sacramento, California.  For more information, visit their website.
  • October 23-26, 2008.  ABA Criminal Justice Section 2008 Annual Conference.  Washington, D.C.
  • October 24th.  ABA Criminal Justice Section Sentencing Conference.  GW Law School, Washington, D.C.
  • October 25th.  Re-Entry and Collateral Consequences Committee Meeting, 10:00am.
  • November 7. The New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement will sponsor a Journal Symposium entitled " 'High' Crimes: Punishing America's Drug Offenders" at the New England School of Law in Boston.
  • November 18-20, 2008.  Missouri Re-Entry Conference.  Inn at Grand Glaize, Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.  For more information, visit their website.


Criminal Justice Section Fall Conference 2008

            From October 23 – 26, 2008, the ABA’s Criminal Justice Section will be hosting its annual conference in Washington, D.C.  Of special note is the Sentencing Conference and CLE program at George Washington Law School on October 24th.  Attendees will receive updates on sentencing issues related to terrorism, evidence, white-collar crime, and prison conditions, among others.

            In addition, our committee will be meeting on Saturday, October 25th at 10:00 am.  Please refer to the ABA website for information.  We hope many of you can join us there.




The State of Criminal Justice 2007-2008

The State of Criminal Justice 2007-2008

Authors from across the criminal justice field provide essays on topics ranging from homeland security to military justice to immigration law. This annual publication examines and reports on the major issues, trends and significant changes in the criminal justice system. As one of the cornerstones of the Section's work, the publication serves as an invaluable resource for policy-makers, academics, and students of the criminal justice system alike. The 2007-2008 volume contains 16 chapters focusing on specific aspects of the criminal justice field, with new addition of full text and reports of all of the adopted official ABA policies passed in 2007-2008 that address criminal justice issues. (342 pages)

  See other available Publications and Resources.     



ComALERT by Lance Ogiste and Melissa Morris

Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes launched Brooklyn’s ComALERT (Community and Law Enforcement Resources Together) re-entry program in 1999 to help ex-offenders successfully transition from prison to their communities by providing drug treatment, mental health treatment, GED classes, housing, and employment training and placement. For more information click here.


Second Chance Act by Lisa Smith and Melissa Morris

In an effort to combat “the revolving door of state and federal prisons,” President George W. Bush signed the much-anticipated Second Chance Act of 2007 (H.R. 1593/SB 1060) into law earlier this year.  The act, which had broad bi-partisan support, provides $165 million a year in grant money to state, faith-based, and community programs that facilitate re-entry of ex-offenders back into their communities. The Second Chance Act (“SCA”) provides grant money to newly created and existing executive and local governments to study, develop, and disseminate information regarding successful re-entry initiatives. For more information click here


Massachusetts CORI Reform by Michael Costello and Melissa Morris

On January 11, 2008 Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick issued Executive Order No. 495 to reform the criminal offender record information (CORI) system.  The executive order outlined several initiatives to better integrate ex-offenders into society through CORI reforms. The executive order mandated that executive agencies could not use CORI to search for an applicant’s criminal convictions, unless the applicant is otherwise qualified and the contents of the record would be relevant to the position. For more information click here.


Criminal Law and Civil Death:  The Collateral Consequences in Alabama by David McKnight

In 2004, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (the research arm of the U.S. Department of Justice) State and Federal courts convicted a combined total of nearly 1,145,000 adults of felonies.  The Bureau of Justice estimates that if recent incarceration rates remain unchanged, an estimated 1 of every 15 persons will serve time in a prison during their lifetime. For more information click here.


ABA Training for Defense Attorneys on Collateral Consequences and Reentry by April Frazier

The ABA Commission on Effective Criminal Sanctions (“Commission”) hosted a training seminar on June 13, 2008 in Baltimore, MD entitled “Collateral Consequences of a Criminal Proceeding: How Defenders Can Assist with Successful Reentry.” The seminar discussed how criminal records impact housing, employment, immigration, and social services in Baltimore City, and provided defense attorneys with advice on how to incorporate consideration of collateral consequences into client representation. For more information click here.


Remarks by Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey on Re-Entry at the Faith-Based and Community Initiatives 2008 National Conference courtesy of the US Department of Justice

In his speech at the 2008 National Conference, Attorney General Mukasey said the following regarding the President’s dedication to re-entry initiatives:

            “Take the Department's efforts to promote rehabilitation in prison and to try to smooth out what is often a rough transition from prison back to free society. Working with faith-based and community organizations, the Department's Federal Bureau of Prisons operates Life Connections, a voluntary faith- and character-based in-prison reentry program, in five facilities. An interim study of this program showed that graduates were about 50% less likely to commit acts of serious misconduct in prison.

            “Similarly, the Administration's Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative has provided more than $100 million to 69 state agencies, all of which work with faith-based and community organizations to assist ex-prisoners in getting jobs, housing, and other services they need to help keep them from re-offending. Preliminary results show that these ex-prisoners have done better on almost every measure, from housing, to employment, to avoiding alcohol and drug abuse.”


Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions

Keeping abreast of the collateral consequences offenders face requires extensive knowledge of housing, immigration, employment, voting rights, and benefits laws.  There are three websites to which we would like to draw your attention:

ReEntry Net

New York LawHelp.org

Columbia's 4C Program
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The American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section
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