Web-based tool assesses civil fallout from criminal convictions

Truth or myth? Once a convicted person has completed his or her court imposed sentence, his or her debt to society has been paid in full. Myth. Although the criminal sentence has been satisfied, the person still faces a range of civil disabilities as a result of the conviction.

The Collateral Consequences Assessment Tool, or C-CAT, fills an existing gap in resources for those who regularly work with people involved with the criminal justice system, both before and after disposition. This web-based tool, the first of its kind, was developed by UNC School of Government Indigent Defense Educator Whitney Fairbanks and Daryl Atkinson, formerly with the North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services and now a staff attorney at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.

Criminal convictions often lead to legal consequences other than jail, prison or probation. North Carolina statutes and regulations require or authorize a wide array of collateral consequences affecting many areas of life including, among other things, the ability to get or keep certain jobs, licenses, or public benefits; hold public office; contract with public and private entities; and vote. Previously, these consequences were scattered throughout the General Statutes.

C-CAT centralizes the collateral consequences imposed under North Carolina law for a criminal conviction and helps attorneys, other professionals and affected individuals advise people more accurately and completely about the impact of a conviction. C-CAT organizes the law of collateral consequences in a way that makes it more accessible to everyone.

C-CAT is offered by the UNC School of Government at no charge to users through December 31, 2012, though users must subscribe. Beginning January 1, 2013, yearly subscriptions will be available to individual users and groups (nonprofit organizations, government agencies, law firms, etc.) at a nominal fee.

Gain access to or find out more about C-CAT.

Published August 14, 2012.