Public Ideology, Minority Threat, and Felony Collateral Sanctions: A State-Level Analysis

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Criminal Justice Review

Publication Date



Federal and state felony collateral sanctions directly impact the opportunities and resources available to ex-felons and in turn their ability to successfully reenter society after conviction and possible incarceration. Because felony collateral sanctions vary greatly from state to state, we offer a state-level analysis of factors that produce differences in collateral sanctions levels adopted by U.S. states. Religion, political climate, and minority threat explanations have been linked to criminal penalty severity; however, no one to date has applied these explanations to felony collateral sanctions besides felony disenfranchisement at the macro level. With zero-truncated Poisson (ZTP) procedures, this study examines whether religion, political climate, and minority threat explanations result in states’ adopting greater collateral sanctions against convicted felons. Our research reveals that conservative climate, religiosity, and racial threat, but not ethnic threat or punitiveness, significantly affect state-level collateral sanctions. States with large minority and conservative populations are more likely to have more stigmatizing collateral sanction that can affect recidivism. We find that race rather than ethnicity is an important predictor of the collateral sanctions levels that states adopt; however, public ideology in the form of conservatism and religiosity has a greater effect on collateral sanctions. Policy implications are discussed.




Criminal Justice


Criminology and Criminal Justice