Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Republican Opposes CORI Changes

An editorial today in The Republican, Changes in CORI Would Be a Crime, says that Gov. Deval Patrick's proposed changes to the Criminal Offender Record Information law, or CORI, would restrict the public's right to know about criminal convictions in a job applicant's past. The bill -- available here -- proposes various changes to the composition of the criminal history systems board and creates a criminal justice information services department. From the perspective of public and news media access, the significant provisions of the bill are those that reduce the time periods after which offenders can request sealing of their records:
  • Records of misdemeanors could be sealed after five years, instead of the current 10 years.
  • Records of felonies could be sealed after 10 years, instead of the current 15.
  • The requirement of 10 years without a conviction prior to sealing would be changed to five for misdemeanors.
Those changes are contrary to the public interest, says The Republican:
"This law was passed as a public safety measure. Parents in Massachusetts, for example, can be reasonably certain that the bus driver who transports their children to school every day does not have a history of drunken driving convictions. That's the CORI at work -- and, although it has its flaws, it does not need to be disassembled."

1 comment:

chanda_beach said...

Although it is important for employers to be aware of the criminal history of its applicants and employees. It is equally important for those persons who do have criminal backgrounds who have decided to choice a do the right thing should be given opportunity to work. If society tells us that once we go to jail and pay our debt to society we should have a clean slate. However, it is not the case. Many people that I personally know that have tried to go the straight have had a difficult time because of their criminal record being held against them. The types of jobs that they can work can seem degraded and do not offer enough pay. The reality is that if a person is not able to work they will go back to what they do know. If society does not want to see this cycle continue, it is only logical to give convicted offenders an working opportunity.

I applaud the District Attorynes office of reongizes the importance of finding jobs for offenders. CORI can still serve its purpose, however the changes that are being legislated are well within reason