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CORI Reform


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CCI is part of the MA Alliance to Reform CORI (MARC) which is organizing a campaign to influence and support legislation to reform CORI. 

Current Criminal Offenders Record Information (CORI) laws keep those who have made and paid for mistakes in their past from achieving the education, skills, and employment to change their lives. Existing CORI laws are among the interlocking systems of structural racism that have contributed to the lack of opportunities in employment, housing, and education in under resourced, urban communities, most especially communities of color.

CORI Reform is a movement in Massachusetts to change current laws to ensure more equitable practices across the state. CORI reformers seek changes in the following areas:

  • who is allowed access to criminal records
  • how long information is allowed to remain in a record
  • how people with criminal records are treated

The CORI (non sex offender*) criminal record information was developed in the early 1970s to make criminal records available to police, prosecutors, probation officers and judges. Buried in the CORI are regulations which protect the privacy and integrity of people with CORIs regarding minor misdemeanors and cases where no conviction resulted. In the past 30 years and especially since 9/11/01 and the passage of the Patriot Act, this information has been made readily and widely available to potential employers, schools, landlords, etc., and it has been misunderstood, misused, and abused.

Currently 2.8 million people in Massachusetts have CORIs; 1.5 million new CORIs are produced per year. The CORI affects thousands of people of all races, ages, and backgrounds, shutting them out of jobs, housing, entrance to college, loans, and other opportunities because of the misunderstanding and abuse of their CORIs. Because our criminal (in)justice system disproportionately affects men and women of color, abuse of the CORI adds to the already high rate of unemployment and homelessness with the consequent increases in crime, addiction and other mental and physical health problems in communities of color.

 * CORI reform efforts do not apply to sexual offender records, which are contained in the SORI (Sexual Offenders Record Information).

 

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Community Change was born out of the Civil Rights Movement and in response to the Kerner Commission which named racism as "a white problem." CCI has done what few organizations are willing to do: shine a spotlight on the roots of racism in white culture with the intention of dealing with racism at its source, as well as with its impact on communities of color.

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