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Mass. Lawmakers Take Up CORI Reform

This article is more than 10 years old.
Supporters of legislation designed to restrict access to criminal records gathered outside the State House in Boston on Monday. (Steve Brown/WBUR)
Supporters of legislation designed to restrict access to criminal records gathered outside the State House in Boston on Monday. (Steve Brown/WBUR)

A bill to limit access to criminal records in Massachusetts will be the focus of a hearing Monday at the State House.

Supporters, including Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, say the Criminal Offender Record Information system, or CORI — which allows some public access to criminal records — makes it nearly impossible for former offenders to find jobs. Reform supporters said that, in turn, makes them more likely to break the law again.

One bill before lawmakers calls for cutting back on the number of years records are open. It would limit the time misdemeanor records are available down from 10 to three years. For a felony, the bill would set the limit at seven years, down from 15.

Another bill would ban employers from asking about criminal records on initial job applications, though they would be allowed to access the system later.

Business groups and other supporters of the existing law said limiting their access to the records would hinder their ability to screen job and housing applicants.

This program aired on July 27, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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