The Massachusetts Senate plans to vote today on wide-ranging criminal justice legislation that would make it easier for inmates to get jobs after their release from prison, a change that Deval Patrick promoted during his campaign for governor, the Boston Globe reports. The House may act later today. The bill loosens the state's criminal offender record information system (CORI). Critics argue that former prisoners are often unable to get work because potential employers check their records and refuse to hire them.
The legislation would limit employers' access to the criminal record of potential employees. A separate provision would let nonviolent drug offenders apply for parole before serving the minimum amount of time required for the crime under stringent drug laws. Currently, those inmates cannot apply for parole until after they have reached that threshold. Released inmates would be subject to postrelease supervision for up to two years, if they are not already on parole or probation. State Senator Cynthia Stone Creem said the bill would help offenders adust to life on the streets, land jobs, and stay out of trouble. “The buzzword now is being smart on crime,'' said Creem.