Congress has been weighing a new form of judicial relief—a Certificate of Rehabilitation—that could alleviate the “internal exile” caused by the collateral consequences of a federal conviction. Aside from the once robust, now rare and erratic pardon power, federal law lacks a general restoration-of-rights regime. Currently authorized by 13 states, judicial certificates of relief are recommended by the major national law reform organizations. This essay describes a bipartisan Senate proposal to authorize federal judges to issue certificates of rehabilitation.

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