Book Review: Beyond punishment? A normative account of the collateral legal consequences of conviction

Published date01 September 2023
AuthorSamantha Luna
Date01 September 2023
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Michelle L. Malkin
Hoskins, Z. (2019).
Beyond punishment? A normative account of the collateral legal consequences of conviction. Oxford University Press.
264 pp. $85.00, ISBN 9780199389230.
Reviewed by: Samantha Luna ,George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA
DOI: 10.1177/0734016820913107
In the United States, it is common practice for those with criminal records to be subjected to an exten-
sive array of collateral legal consequences that are often burdensome and detrimental to an individ-
uals successful reintegration back into society. In Beyond Punishment? A Normative Account of the
Collateral Legal Consequences of Conviction, Zachary Hoskins, an assistant professor of philosophy
at the University of Nottingham, draws on moral, legal, and political philosophy to critically examine
whether the use of collateral legal consequences is morally justied.
Hoskins begins with an overview of the variety and scope of burdensome legal measures faced by
offenders outside of their formal sentences. He then asks the question, Are these measures ever
morally justied?He asserts that while arguments can certainly be made that collateral legal con-
sequences may be unjustied in practice (e.g., racially disparate effects), our focus should rst
begin with an examination of these measures in principle. He reasons that if measures are rst
found to be unjustied in principle, they should be eliminated outright rather than reformed in prac-
tice. Hoskins argues that to evaluate the question of whether and when collateral legal consequences
are morally justied, it is necessary to rst ask whether collateral legal consequences should be con-
sidered civil measures or, as some suggest, additional forms of punishment. He argues that this dis-
tinction is necessary because the justications for civil measures should differ from those of
Hoskins discusses the answers to this question via two approaches. In the rst, he identies the
practical consequences of treating collateral legal consequences as punishment. In the second, he crit-
ically examines whether these measures function as punishment. By drawing on legal and moral def-
initions of punishment, Hoskins concludes that collateral legal consequences function as punishment
only if they communicate condemnation of wrongdoing and are intended to be burdensome.
Therefore, the classication of a collateral legal consequence as punishment or civil measure
depends on the characteristics of the measure itself.
The book is then broken down into two main sections, where Hoskins evaluates the justications
for collateral legal consequences as punishment and civil measures. In the rst section, Hoskins
examines whether collateral legal consequences are justied as forms of punishment by discussing
rationales and constraints on punishment. He nds that punishment and collateral legal consequences
are not justied if they do not meet the standards of cardinal and ordinal proportionality; standards
that many burdensome measures (e.g., lifetime welfare bans) do not meet. Hoskins, however, argues
that these constraints only offer a limited evaluation of a measures justication. He asserts that the
treatment of offenders should not only be based on what they have done but also on who they are.
Using this approach, Hoskins concludes that any burdensome measures that treat offenders with con-
tempt by undermining their chances at reform (e.g., housing restrictions) fail to treat them as moral
persons and are therefore unjustied.
408 Criminal Justice Review 48(3)

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