CORI Reform takes effect as of November 4, 2010.
What does this mean?
In the past it has been difficult and, at times, near impossible for people with past criminal offenses to find a meaningful job. Once an employer runs a CORI check- there is not much likelihood of an applicant getting past the paper form of the application process.
Southcoast Today recently ran an article about the reform, including a personal account of a man named Robert Barboza and the obstacles he has faced, in trying to secure a job, because of a past offense in selling drugs.
Barboza explains that:
“Because of my record, it was very hard to get a good accounting job,” he added that he is still “in the outskirts” of landscaping and odd jobs because they do not require CORI checks.
“I never put the effort of going through job applications because I don’t want to get shot down,” he said. “You fill an application, then you come to the question about if you have prior convictions. You know you’re not gonna get that job.”
As of November 4, Governor Patrick has passed a new law that prevents employers from seeking disclosure of job applicant’s criminal record information prior to the interview stage of the hiring process, known as ‘Ban the Box’.
‘Ban the Box’ states that an employer can not inquire about prior convictions on an initial application form, unless the job is related to working with high risk populations; including children and the elderly. The pinch is that the employer does have a right to ask this question during an interview.
Furthermore, an employer:
- Cannot ask about arrests that did not result in conviction
- Cannot ask about sealed or juvenile offense
- Cannot ask about a misdemeanor where the date of conviction occurred 5 or more years ago
- Cannot ask about a first conviction of certain misdemeanors
This represents just the firs step in CORI reform. Beginning May 4, 2012, individuals may request that their criminal records be sealed according to the following schedule:
Misdemeanor: 5 years after the conviction or any period of incarceration, whichever is later. This is a reduction from a 10 year waiting period.
Felony: 10 years after the conviction or any period of incarceration, whichever is later. This is a reduction from a 15 year waiting period.
What does this mean for past offenders?
This reform will give people with criminal records a better chance to support themselves and their family through honest work. Although criminal records represent just one of the many obstacles criminal offenders must overcome in order to land a job this reform will allow persons with CORI records a better chance at obtaining jobs that will enable them to sustain themselves financially without resorting back to unlawful practices.