Massachusets CORI Reform:
Sonali Pillay and Jake Grumbach, Columbia Universiy
By reducing he number of years needed o clear a criminal record,Massachusets can sop he unjus denial of jobs and services o former criminals..
In Massachusets oday, CORIs, or Criminal Oender Record Inormaion, lismisdemeanors or 10 years and elonies or 15 years unil hey are nally sealed,which, insead o promoing public saey and suppressing crime, simply hindersormer criminals rom reenering sociey. The ime i akes or CORIs o be sealedshould be reduced o 3 years afer a misdemeanor and 6 years afer a elony.Legal sysems are generallysrucured o deliver senencingrom a judge and jury, o serve asboh deerrens and punishmensor crime, bu he CORI sysemdoes no his philosophy.In he curren CORI siuaion,hough, he punishmen comesindirecly and rom ousidehe jurisdicion o he judgeand jury o he specic case,because simply having a criminalrecord obsrucs employmenand oher opporuniies. Thecrimes can also be compleelyirrelevan o he job in quesion,ye i is usually he rs hinghe employer checks and candesroy a candidae’s chance aemploymen.In addiion, he punishmen incurred rom criminal records is ofen grosslydisproporionae o he original crime commited—a simple misdemeanor cankeep a qualied person rom obaining a job or up o 10 years. Imagine an 18year-old under he curren sysem commiting misdemeanor respassing; he issubsequenly a a grea disadvanage in obaining employmen or loans unil heis a leas 28.CORIs can also insiuionalize some employers’ racis hiring pracices. Currenly,Arican Americans wih criminal records have a 5 percen chance o being calledback or an inerview or an enry-level posiion, and a 14 percen chance wihoua record. However, whies have a 17 percen chance wih a CORI and a 34
CORI sands or Criminal Oender Record
Inormaion. The sae governmen holds heCORIs in a daabase, and many employerscan view he inormaion when someone whohas commited a crime applies or a job.There are 2.8 million CORIs currenly kep in
Massachusets.Unlike he curren sysem ha allows employ-
ers o see records up o 15 years, researchshows ha a person’s likelihood o recidivismis saisically he same as someone who hasnever commited a crime afer only 3 years.Blacks wih criminal records have a 5 percen
chance o being called back or an inerviewor an enry level posiion, while whies wihrecords have a 17 percen chance. Blacks wih-ou records have a 14 percen chance; whieswihou records have a 34 percen chance.