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2012 Minnesota Justice Forum to examine collateral consequences of criminal records

October 12, 2012

For the nearly one in three American adults with criminal records, the consequences of crime include not only punishment but also collateral sanctions on employment, housing, welfare and other important goods, restrictions that often remain in effect well after individuals have completed their sentences.

The Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice at the University of Minnesota has partnered with the Council on Crime and Justice to explore the issue of collateral sanctions at the 2012 Minnesota Justice Forum, “The Collateral Consequences of Criminal Records,” from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 19 in Lockhart Hall at the University of Minnesota Law School, 229 19th Ave South, Minneapolis.

Legal practitioners, policy-makers, scholars, and members of the community will discuss the effects of collateral sanctions, their rationales and options for reform. Participants will focus on Minnesota’s laws and practices, especially those affecting employment opportunities.

“How much is enough?” asks Michael Smith, executive director of the Robina Institute. “Our appetite for punishment has led us to impose burdens and restrictions, often permanently and very widely, without a lot of thought. When is it fair? When does doing so undermine our real interests and compromise public safety? It is time to think all this through.”

Participants include U of M sociology professors Chris Uggen and Josh Page; Dan Cain, president of RS Eden in Minneapolis, an organization that helps people with criminal records rebuild their lives; Julie Melander Holmes, senior human resources and employment law consultant at Trusight, an employers’ association that helps businesses find workable solutions for both complex and routine matters involving law, policy, and the bottom line; and Mary Johnson, a Minneapolis woman who reconciled with the man who, as a teenager in 1993, murdered her son. She has since founded the organization From Death to Life.

“We strongly believe at the Council that persons with criminal records should not be perpetually punished long after their sentences have been served,” says Judge Pamela Alexander (’77), president of the Council on Crime and Justice. “A former offender should be able to re-enter society with an eye toward becoming a contributing member of society with the ability to get a job, support their families, get an education and make a positive impact on the communities in which they live. This conference will bring to light the challenges faced by persons with criminal records so that we can discuss effective solutions.”

This event is free and open to the public. Registration for attorneys requesting CLE credits is $99.

The law firm Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi is also a sponsor of the event.

About the Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice

The Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, supported by a major long-term grant from the Minneapolis-based Robina Foundation, works with policy-makers, practitioners and a wide range of leading scholars to improve criminal justice systems that are widely recognized to be ineffective, overly costly, overly severe, and insufficiently attentive to the needs and interests of victims. The Institute engages in interdisciplinary, policy-oriented study of the criminal justice system. For more information about the Robina Institute for Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, please contact David Hanbury, Robina Institute administrator, at 612-625-8093 or dhanbury@umn.edu

About the Council on Crime and Justice
The Council on Crime and Justice is a private, nonprofit agency that has been a leader in the field of criminal and social justice for more than 55 years. The Council provides an independent voice for a balanced approach to criminal justice and has been at the forefront of innovative research, policy and programs in Minnesota relating to offender services, victims’ rights, restorative justice, legislative reform, and the reduction of racial disparities in the criminal justice system. For more information about the Council on Crime and Justice, please contact Emily Baxter, director of public policy and advocacy at 612-353-3001 or baxtere@crimeandjustice.org.

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