The original “Mark of Cain” was a protective mark signifying divine mercy. The millions who are drawn into the criminal justice system leave with their own “mark.” This mark is not a sign of divine mercy, but one of adverse societal consequences that go far beyond the criminal process itself. Words such as arrested, indicted, convicted, and felon, once attached, carry significant legal and societal restrictions. The common phrases used to describe these restrictions beyond the criminal justice process are “collateral consequences” or “civil disabilities. Today in the United States more than 60 million arrest records are on file, with close to twenty percent of the U.S. population having been arrested at some time in their lives.
The consequences of a conviction or even an arrest have been expanded by state and federal legislatures. Instead of policies that help reintegrate an individual back into the community, legal and regulatory barriers are constructed that serve to drive a deepening wedge between the “criminal” and his community. The Mark of Cain Foundation initial goal is to study these “collateral consequences.” Their research will catalog them in a way useful to lawmakers, attorneys, Judges, and those facing a conviction or contemplating a plea bargain. It will assist public awareness of the associated punishments beyond those handed down by a sentencing judge. It will identify all of the restrictions put upon one at both the state and federal level. A website will be developed to give easy access to the Foundation’s research. The website will allow professionals and the public access to information on collateral consequences in their state, links to other resources, and a forum for citizens to exchange information and ideas concerning civil disabilities.
In addition to identifying the laws and regulations leading to civil disabilities, the foundation will analyze the effect the limitations have on the individual and on the families and children of the arrested or convicted. The Foundation will also examine the effect that the explosion of these laws has and has on U. S. society. The Foundation research will include an analysis of the effect these laws have on the racial divide in the U.S, the effect on families and juveniles, the economic burden on the U.S. taxpayer and the future of the U.S. security.
The Foundation will use the materials generated from their research to launch a public awareness campaign. This campaign will be used to educate the public debate about the role of the criminal justice system in the lives of American citizens. The Foundation will provide lecturers in communities across the country to highlight the importance of the issue.
For more information contact us by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to:
Mark of Cain Foundation
820 E. Kingston Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28203
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