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Governor Signs Historic CORI Bill
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————-Welcome to the BWA—————
Public Briefing on New CORI Regulations
Community CORI Briefing
New Health and Human Service (EOHHS) Regulations
Boston Workers’ Alliance and the Union of Minority Neighborhoods:
Thursday, July 17
10am @ City Hall, Piemonte Room
Briefing on New Regulations resulting for new EOHHS regulations. Come to celebrate our tentative victory, learn about the proposed regulations, and what needs to be improved.
Executive Order on CORI
In January of 2008, Governor Deval Patrick signed Executive Order No. 495 “Regarding the Use and Dissemination of Criminal Record Information.” The campaign to secure an Executive Order on CORI was led by the Boston Workers’ Alliance, Union of Minority Neighborhoods, the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute and Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner. While broader efforts for CORI reform were still stalled in the legislature, advocates pressed Patrick to make good on his campaign promises to take timely and meaningful action on CORI. While the Executive Order and the proposed CORI bill falls short of the Governor’s lofty campaign rhetoric, several key provisions will have positive, broad scale impacts for job seekers across the Commonwealth.
Within the Executive Order, three central reforms have been identified as key victories for the CORI reform movement.
The first major reform is a requirement for employers that receive CORI reports to complete a training on how to properly read the records. CORI reports are written in difficult to decipher code and employers are often unable to distinguish between cases that were
dismissed or found not guilty. A single incident also often results in multiple entries on a CORI, leading employers who are unable to read records to assume that the applicant was arrested more than once. Under the new regulations, employers must pass a written examination on reading a CORI before being certified to receive the sensitive data.
A second major reform created Fair Hiring policies for all state agencies that hire public workers. Through the Executive Order, a CORI check can only be conducted after an applicant has received an interview and is considered otherwise qualified for the position. The Executive Order moves the CORI check to the last step in the hiring process, and prevents applicants from being weeded out before having their resume, references and motivation considered. As the largest employer in the Commonwealth, these changes to the state’s internal hiring policies will have broad implications for tens of thousands of
Third, the Executive Order broadly reformed regulations that prevent those with CORI from working in health and human service fields. Previous Health and Human Service regulations required for employers to follow a crime table that disqualified applicants from work. An employer was only allowed to hire people with certain CORIs by obtaining a positive letter from a law enforcement agent or by paying a certified counselor for a mental health evaluation of the applicant. This impractical requirement had effectively barred qualified health care professionals with CORI from obtaining work.
Changes to the Executive Office of Health and Human Service regulations have now reopened this large employment sector to those with criminal records. The new regulations remove the assumed disqualification of those with CORI, and instruct health agencies to only consider misdemeanors that are less than 5 years old and felonies that under 10 years old. The requirement to obtain a letter from a law enforcement or a therapist has also been removed, and a number of crimes have been removed from the crime tables. New EOHHS are also expected to remove the criminal record check box from initial job applications forms.
These EOHHS regulations affect 495 state health and human service agencies, and also applies to the tens of thousands of businesses and agencies that receive contracts from the Health and Human Services Department. In total, the new CORI friendly regulations will affect over 180,000 employees in the human services field across the Commonwealth. These reforms are particularly important for the BWA given the large concentration of health care jobs in the Greater Boston area.
These new regulations represent a significant first step towards increasing job access amongst the most economically disenfranchised of the community. After three years of grassroots organizing, public hearings and mass marches, the BWA builds from this victory and helps lead a dynamic statewide movement for jobs and CORI reform.