CORI Reform Passes House 139-17!

[Speaker DeLeo greets CORI advocates after historic House vote]


*What Happened and What’s Next?*

CORI Reform was passed in the House late Wednesday with a vote of 139 to 17! The victory was a critical milestone, making us a major step closer to the adoption of CORI reform into law.

The vote now places CORI reform into Conference Committee, where a small group of State Reps and Senators will be responsible for reconciling the House and Senate versions to produce a final bill.

The Conference Committee process could be lengthy, and requires for supporters of the campaign to stay vigilant. The Committee has until the end of July to produce a bill for signing by the Governor. We will press the Committee to release a bill much sooner.

Key to pushing a final bill through Conference is to maintain momentum for CORI reform until it is signed. To that end, we ask our supporters to share your excitement by calling your State Rep today!


Law Enforcement for CORI Reform

Massachusetts Law Enforcement Leaders Support CORI Reform

Participating in Press Conference (5/18/10):

Ed Davis, Boston Police Commissioner
Dan O’Leary, President of the Massachusetts Major Police Chiefs Association
Dan Conley, Suffolk Country District Attorney
Andrea Cabral, Suffolk County Sheriff
Brian Kyes, Chelsea Police Chief
James DiPaola, Middlesex County Sheriff
Paul MacMillan, MBTA Police Chief
Matt Machera, former Assistant District Attorney and former head of the Safe Neighborhoods Initiative in the DA’s office


CORI Reform Rally & Lobby Day

CORI Rally 5-6-10

1. May 6 CORI Rally & Lobby Day Report Back
2. State House News Bulletin on CORI
3. Globe coverage of CORI Rally
4. Worcester Telegram coverage of CORI Rally

1. May 6 CORI Rally & Lobby Day Report Back

On May 6th, over 350 people participated in the Commonwealth CORI Coalition’s Rally and Lobby Day.
The event drew residents from across the state who are impeded from work and housing by regressive CORI laws. After the successful passage of reforms in the Senate last November, groups have been intensifying their efforts to secure a similar vote in the House this month.

The major grassroots event coincided with announcements from Speaker DeLeo’s office in the State House News Services that CORI reform would likely receive a vote in the month of May. CCC advocates report that a strong majority of the 160-member House are on the record as CORI reform supporters.

The rally included speakers from Neighbor to Neighbor, Ex-prisoners and Prisoners Organizing for Community Advancement (EPOCA - Worcester) and Boston Workers Alliance, as well as Rev. Ray Hammond of 10-Point Coalition, Jack Johnson of the Mass Council of Churches, and State Representatives Malia and Kaufman.


Boston Clergy Announce 40-Day Fast for CORI Reform

1. Ministers Call for Fast in Support of CORI Reform (Press Advisory)
2. Clergy ask change in criminal record law (Globe)
3. Boston leaders fast for CORI reform (Herald)




On this first day of Lent, the Black Ministerial Alliance and The Boston Ten Point Coalition call for a fast in support of CORI reform, to bring attention to and identify with those who are suffering its effects. CORI reform would symbolically bring “new life” this Easter to those who are suffering. Black and Hispanic unemployment is estimated to be as high as 25% in some urban areas and CORI reform is seen as critical to reducing that number.

“The BMA and BTPC are deeply concerned that CORI Reform is being put on the back burner. It is too important and critical an issue to be subjected to these kinds of political games. We are calling for the community of faith to fast and pray for a decision to be made on the CORI legislation,” says Bishop Gideon Thompson chairman of the Black Ministerial Alliance.

CORI reform can remove a major impediment to education, employment, and housing for both young and old. An arrest or arraignment can prevent students from obtaining financial aid for school, returning to or visiting their families, obtaining housing, employment, credit and insurance. CORIs are often inaccurate, difficult to understand, easy to abuse, and many who use them aren’t properly trained to interpret them. A CORI, regardless of its nature and severity, date or evidence of successful rehabilitation can serve as a life sentence. According to Rev. Brown the Executive Director of the Boston Ten Point Coalition, “The passage of CORI reform legislation has taken on a moral significance. It is vital to the economic well-being of inner-city communities that we reform our current, broken CORI system. CORI reform is an economic right.”

WHAT: 40 Days of Fasting and Prayer for CORI Reform

WHERE: Bethel AME (St. Andrews Campus)
38 Walk Hill Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

WHEN: Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 2 pm.

WHO: Black Ministerial Alliance and Boston Ten Point Coalition.

Contact: Rev. Jeff Brown, cell (508) 740-4225, e-mail, [email protected],

SOURCE: Boston Ten Point Coalition

2. Clergy ask change in criminal record law, Say ex-offenders hurt in job search

The Boston Globe
By Michael Levenson, Globe Staff | February 18, 2010

A group of prominent black ministers accused House leaders yesterday of failing to allow a vote on legislation that would make it easier for people with criminal records to find jobs.

The issue is a top priority for the ministers because they believe criminal offender record laws are unfairly preventing some members of their community from entering the workforce, even years after convictions on minor crimes.

Governor Deval Patrick has pushed the issue, saying that allowing former offenders the opportunity to find work is the best tool to prevent them from re-offending. A version of the bill has passed the Senate.

But the ministers said that momentum for the bill was lost in the House after the vivid display of voter anger in the election of Republican Scott P. Brown to the US Senate last month.

Some business groups have criticized the measure, saying employers should not be restricted in the criminal records they can review when deciding whom to hire.

The bill would reduce the amount of time a job applicant’s criminal record remains accessible to employers.

During a press conference at Bethel AME Church in Jamaica Plain, four ministers from some of the area’s largest black congregations said they would urge their members to fast in support of the legislation for Lent.

“We won’t sit by idly and allow for yet another year to pass until it’s politically safe to deal with the issue,” said the Rev. Jeffrey L. Brown, executive director of the Boston TenPoint Coalition.

“Because of the economic climate, it has become an economic issue, and it has taken on a moral significance because people cannot be redeemed in their lives when you have a system that is designed to keep them where they are,” Brown said.

The ministers have pushed the issue in public rallies and in private meetings with Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and Representative Eugene L. O’Flaherty, House chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

But since the measure has not surfaced for a vote in the House, the members of the Black Ministerial Alliance and the Boston TenPoint Coalition are “deeply concerned that CORI reform is being put on the back burner,” said the Rev. Ray Hammond, pastor of Bethel AME Church, referring to the Criminal Offender Record Information system.

“It is far too important and far too critical an issue to be subjected to these kind of political games,” Hammond said. “People’s lives are at stake.”

O’Flaherty did not return calls for comment yesterday.

DeLeo’s spokesman, Seth Gitell, released a statement saying, “Speaker DeLeo is working with Chairman O’Flaherty on a criminal justice package and is looking forward to bringing it up some time this session.”

The session ends in July.

Patrick said yesterday that he has talked about the issue with DeLeo, who has assured him the bill will be released from committee.

“We’re looking for action soon,” Patrick said in an interview.

“We are closer to CORI reform than we have ever been.”

Noah Bierman of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Michael Levenson can be reached at [email protected]

3. Boston leaders fast for CORI reform
By Ira Kantor, Boston Herald
Thursday, February 18, 2010

Some of the Hub’s top black leaders yesterday announced a 40-day fast and prayer movement to push for legislative action on criminal records reform.

Members of the Black Ministerial Alliance and Boston TenPoint Coaltion announced the CORI push yesterday at the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Jamaica Plain.

Participants are being asked to pray for reform at noon each day of Lent and to “refrain from having some kind of regular sustinence,” said the Rev. Jeffrey Brown, executive director of the Boston TenPoint Coalition.

CORI reform legislation is crucial to giving offenders “another chance at redemption,” Brown said. The idea is to restrict access to criminal records to make it easier for offenders to put their past behind them and land jobs.

Aaron Tanaka
Boston Workers’ Alliance
411 Blue Hill Ave.
Dorchester, MA 02121

p. 617.606.3580
c. 617.359.0336
f. 617. 606.3582
[email protected]