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News :: Human Rights : Race
CORI Checks Haunt Millions in Massachusetts
11 Jul 2005
Around 2 million people in Massachusetts have criminal records that are accessible by potential employers, public housing officials, and sometimes any member of the public. Last Wednesday, the local Union of Minority Neighborhoods kicked off a campaign to change the Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) system by holding a public organizing meeting. In this radio piece, Ronald -- a Boston native who's spent 25+ years in jail -- talks about the difficulties, underlying racism, and possible reforms to CORI checks in Massachusetts.
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Your browser does not support embedded sound files. <a href="http://boston.indymedia.org/usermedia/audio/2/39452_cori-web-mix.mp3">Download the file.</a>
Ronald was born in Boston, and has lived in and around the city basically all his life. When he was a teenager in the seventies, he got caught up in drug-related crimes and went to jail for about two years. But that was only the beginning of a string of similar charges that have added up to more than 25 years of his life in jail. About four months ago, he finally emerged from a nine-year-long period in prison. Currently residing in central square, he's now looking for a job and some stability in his life. However, his years in jail have created a haunting paper trail.

In the office of the Criminal History Systems Board in Chelsea, there's a computer containing records on roughly two million Massachusetts residents. These records document criminal convictions. But even if you've been erroneously arrested, searched or interviewed, you may have a record there. Ronald is one of the people caught by this database.

Criminal Offender Record Information, or CORI for short, is accessible to potential employers, public housing projects, and some private landlords. In fact, many records are open to CORI checks by anyone from the general public. The agency in Chelsea processes an average of 100,000 CORI checks every month. Felony records can date back as far as 15 years, and misdemeanor records as far as 10 years.

To hear the whole story, listen to the posted mp3.

(If you can't hear it, try downloading it at http://www.radio4all.net/proginfo.php?id=13201)
See also:
http://www.unionofminorityneighborhoods.org
http://www.mlri.org/cori_project

This work is in the public domain.
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Re: CORI Checks Haunt Millions in Massachusetts
12 Jul 2005
Also - mostly men - are given an entry on their CORI for restraining orders (209's) - even those based on "subjective fear" - and without any threat, or hitting. Subject fear without a reason is also probable cause for a mental disorder - how many men have been "incarcerated" by paper because of this?
Re: CORI Checks Haunt Millions in Massachusetts
16 Jul 2005
I think this is an underappreciated issue. I have had to complete numerous CORI's and miss days of work until some bureaucrat somewhere confirmed the nonexistence of a criminal record.

In a country like the US where liberty is prized, why do people submit to being labeled guilty until proven otherwise?

Furthermore, how can we expect the reintegration of those who may have transgressed in the past if they carry the mark of cain everywhere they go?
Re: CORI Checks Haunt Millions in Massachusetts
17 Jul 2005
what do you propose? Should employers not be able to get this information? I'm glad my kid's school runs CORI checks on its teachers - it's not as if I'd care if one of her teachers passed a bad check 15 years ago, but I'd hope the school wouldn't hire a teacher who was, say, a murderer, a wanted felon, or a rapist.
CORI Checks Are Misused By Some Employers
17 Jul 2005
ANY Company can do a CORI check. Doesn't make sense. Why? If you're not working with kids, handicap or elderly? Why should there be a CORI check?
As for restraining orders? Since 80%+ are phoney complaints? CORI should be eliminated from restraining orders. In fact, there is NO due process on restraining orders. (Which should be illegal.)
CORI needs to be fixed. Our lawmakers need to be addressed about this abuse.
Re: CORI Checks Haunt Millions in Massachusetts
18 Jul 2005
This is absolutely ridiculous. Often, charges made but later dismissed by the court still show up in a CORI. On top of that, arrest records are publicly displayed on websites even before suspects are proven guilty!
Re: CORI Checks Haunt Millions in Massachusetts
27 Jul 2005
25+ years of his life in prison?

Something tells me Ron is a slow learner.
Re: CORI Checks Haunt Millions in Massachusetts
05 Oct 2005
The other group of people that have permanant criminal records (CORI) are those that are found NOT guilty in a court of law. Should someone found NOT guilty serve a life sentence of not being able to be hired, get loans, housing, enterance to college, etc because CORIs are so accessible?

The law allows employers, banks, housing boards, landlords to only look at convictions and pending cases yet the Criminal Systems History Board sends them CORI reports on people found NOT guilty, charges have been dismissed, mistaken identity, errors on CORI, erroneous arrests and even if they arrested/arraigned 20 years ago.

Most people will agree that it is ok for a places like schools to look at records of convicted murders, rapists, etc but I don't see any valid reason for anyone but the courts and police to have access to anything but convictions or pending cases.

I also think that if someone is found NOT guily, dismissed, wrongly arrested their records should be automatically expunged or at least sealed in accordance with the law which they are not.

http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/276-100c.htm

http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/276-100a.htm
Re: CORI Checks Haunt Millions in Massachusetts
30 Jan 2006
This Cori System is just plain wrong. I was arrested and later found not guilty. Now I can't get a job because some COP felt like playing GOD. He arrested me for a crime he never even saw me commit, nor have any proof other than some vindictive person making the story up. It has ruined my whole life. How can people sleep at night posting non guilty arrests on Cori checks? You are guilty until proven innocent, and even then not in the eyes of a CORI. We must put a stop to this!!! I just found out that you can pay 25 bucks and have this sealed, so it won't show up anymore. What a system huh? I have to pay 25 bucks and get a notarized letter stating who I am. To seal a record for a crime I wasn't even convicted of? What's this state coming to.

PS. To all you prosecutors out there that see people like us struggle after you have dragged us through the dirt, for crimes we never committed. Screw you and your state jobs!!! Not Guilty people deserve better than this!!
dcsemyhal vpzy
06 Jun 2006
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dcsemyhal vpzy
06 Jun 2006
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dcsemyhal vpzy
06 Jun 2006
xegulndi umhixaw zmnkdcjqh ruobahj ylmvzq lezpbwixt qzamy
dcsemyhal vpzy
06 Jun 2006
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