Criminal Offender Record Information

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2010 protestor in Downtown Boston objecting to CORI policies as an impediment to jobs for youth

Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) is a record of all criminal court appearances in Massachusetts for a particular individual, including arrests, convictions, dismissals, and serious violations.[1] Nearly 1.5 million CORI reports are issued each year.[2] On August 6, 2010, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law a strong anti-crime package that reforms the state's criminal offender records information system (CORI), aiming to “to improve employment opportunities”.[3]

Reform controversy[edit]

CORI has been controversial because information that a person has committed or been accused of committing a crime makes it difficult to obtain housing, employment, loans, insurance, entrance to college, or become a guardian or foster parent. The Massachusetts Alliance to Reform CORI, Boston Workers' Alliance, EPOCA and Neighbor to Neighbor, amongst other groups advocate for various changes, including quicker sealing of older records. Reform advocates call the reports flawed and difficult to interpret. CORIs display all court arraignments - regardless of the eventual outcome of the case - and advocates say this in effect turns all criminal histories into "life sentences".[2] They also point out that the social and economic impact of CORI affect the children of former offenders.

After a reform in the early 2010s, one must wait 10 years for a felony and 5 years for a misdemeanor after final disposition (the date probation is finished) to apply to the Office of the Commissioner of Probation[4] and have this record sealed. If however, during this time that individual receives even a minor citation, such as a traffic ticket for more than $50, he or she must wait an additional 15/10 years. As of 2010, a reform bill is in the state legislature, which would reduce these wait times. The reform also allows judges to seal dismissed cases after probation period.

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