Lawmakers, Police Push CORI Reform

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Leading state law enforcement officials are backing a plan to change the system of criminal background checks.

The Criminal Offender Record System, CORI, for short, is the record of arrests, convictions and verdicts amassed by anyone who comes into contact with the court system. On Tuesday, police chiefs, sheriffs and prosecutors gathered on Beacon Hill to support legislation that would change how and when employers could access these records.

A set of proposed changes would seal CORI records for most felonies after 10 years, and misdemeanors after five.

Lew Finfer, director of the Massachusetts Community Action Network, said the legislation will help people with criminal records get jobs. That, he added, could make the state safer.

"Though it's never an excuse to do a crime that you don't have a job, common sense says if you can't readily get a job, you're more likely to go down the wrong path and commit new crimes," Finfer said.

The sheriff of Suffolk County, Andrea Cabral, says the reforms would make the system more fair.

"It's not like you serve your time and you evaporate into thin air, and you're duly chastened having been told what you did was wrong," Cabral said. "It hasn't worked since the Puritans, and even they had limited success."

The legislation, which is part of a crime bill before the State House, is expected to be voted on this month. House Speaker Robert DeLeo has said he thinks it will pass.

This program aired on May 19, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.