The National Governors Association (NGA) has recently published a report exploring the collateral consequences faced by young people that are involved in the juvenile justice system of the United States. This study was conducted by the NGA through a series of calls and virtual roundtable events to convene with national, state, and local subject-matter experts to explore the various consequences these young people face.
The report breaks the types of collateral consequences down into two sections: immediate and long term. Examples of immediate collateral consequences include financial penalties, the denial of public benefits, the suspension of driver’s licence and the restriction of firearm possession. Long-term consequences look to restrictions in economic mobility, the existence of a criminal record and a loss of support networks. The report also examines the effects that were both immediate and long-term, which included those in housing, employment, education (these are often presented through the immediate loss of the certain aspect and then a continued difficulty in obtaining it due to the young person’s criminal record), and finally trauma and continued stigma towards the young person.
In order to promote the reduction of these collateral consequences, the NGA has identified both comprehensive reforms and targeted policies, aimed at the key stakeholders of this field, which includes members of law enforcement, prosecutors, members of the media, judges and educational personnel. The suggested comprehensive reforms of the report aim to encourage a system-wide change, including multi-agency collaboration, improving data systems, raising the age for those that enter juvenile court, and bettering re-entry programmes. The targeted policies of the report encourage policymakers to consider altering the existing legislation regarding, among others, the removal of financial penalties and the provision of educational opportunities.