More CORI Reforms Go Into Effect In Mass.

The second phase of changes to the state’s Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) registry has gone into effect.

Our Newscast unit reports that the latest reforms reduce the amount of time before certain criminal records can be sealed.

Under the new rules, the waiting period before misdemeanors could be sealed is reduced from 10 years to five, and the waiting period for felonies is reduced from 15 years to 10.

The reforms do not affect murders and sex crimes, as those are listed in a separate database.

Many potential employers require CORI searches for job applicants.

Aaron Tanaka, of the Boston Workers Alliance, told our Newscast unit that the latest changes will reduce recidivism:

We found that there are many people who are motivated who want to turn their life around and do the right thing, but they were not able to access gainful employ and often that led to people going back to the criminal activities that got them in trouble in the first place.

As we reported in 2010 before CORI reform became law, however, sometimes it's hard to completely control such information:

[Privacy expert Chris Hoofnagle] said criminal records just have a way of sticking around, regardless of changes to the official criminal records system.

He said employers, landlords and anyone who uses private companies can still end up getting old, outdated and sometimes inaccurate information about criminal records.

The first phase of the law to go into effect prohibited employers from asking about an applicant's criminal history on a preliminary job application.

This program aired on May 4, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

Benjamin Swasey Digital Manager
Ben is WBUR's digital news manager.



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