Bar Bulletin

Bar Bulletin

Why We Should Stop Saying “Collateral Consequences”

January 2023 Bar Bulletin

By Oscar Aguirre

There has been a recent push among activists and legal advocates to refer to the United States’ system of policing, prosecution, and corrections as a “criminal legal system” instead of a “criminal justice system.”1 The purpose behind this shift is to acknowledge the many ways that the criminal legal system fails to achieve its purported goal of justice and in fact perpetuates and legitimizes injustice. As Erica Bryant, an Associate Director of the Vera Institute of Justice, puts it,

Throughout history and across the world, false language has facilitated the systemic, inhumane treatment of groups of people. . . . Words shape...

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