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Excerpted from: Gabriel J. Chin, The New Civil Death: Rethinking Punishment in the Era of Mass Conviction, 160 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 1789 (May, 2012)(222 Footnotes)


GabrielJChinBorrowing from its English forebears, the United States once had a form of punishment called civil death. Civil death extinguished most civil rights of a person convicted of a crime and largely put that person outside the law's protection. Civil death as an institution faded away in the middle of the twentieth century. Policymakers recognized that almost all convicted persons eventually rejoin society, and therefore, it was wise and fair to allow them to participate in society with some measure of equality.. . .[C]ivil death has surreptitiously reemerged. It no longer exists under that name, but effectually a new civil death is meted out to persons convicted of crimes in the form of a substantial and permanent change in legal status, operationalized by a network of collateral consequences.