Invisible Punishment: An Instrument of Social Exclusion

Research Report

Invisible Punishment: An Instrument of Social Exclusion

July 1, 2002


As the rates of imprisonment and criminal justice supervision have grown in America, another form of criminal sanction, the network of laws that limit the rights and privileges of ex-offenders, has also increased. These sanctions, called "invisible punishment," range from barriers to public housing for drug offenders to lifetime registration requirements for sex offenders. This book chapter describes the varieties of invisible punishment in modern America and the recent growth in these laws. The chapter argues that these sanctions reduce the chances of successful reintegration for ex-offenders and proposes a reform strategy.

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