When criminals try to re enter society, they’re often haunted by criminal background information that can prevent them from getting a job, says the Boston Globe. For years, state lawmakers and social activists, many of them from minority neighborhoods, have tried to limit distribution of that information, saying they want to help people get another chance. The fight to water down the Criminal Offender Records Information law, or CORI, has emerged as an issue in the governor’s race. Democrat Deval Patrick, who supports restricting the release of some information is drawing fire from Republican opponent Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey. She has launched a television ad quoting Reilly calling Patrick “soft on crime.” “There is no benefit to hiding someone’s criminal history,” Healey told the Globe. “It should be made more widely available, not restricted, as Deval Patrick has suggested.”
Patrick has avoided taking a stand on specific CORI legislation, including the most controversial proposals pending. The Public Safety Act of 2006, an omnibus bill that lawmakers did not act on this session, contained measures that would make it easier for offenders to have their records sealed or expunged and allow drug dealers to lop time off their sentences. More than 11,000 employers have access to criminal records under CORI, and nearly all of them serve vulnerable populations such as nursing home residents and schoolchildren. Patrick has said he supports the idea of giving people with criminal records “a second chance.” “Moving from jail back into responsible society is a great idea,” he said, “but only if CORI doesn’t defeat your second chance.” Patrick said he believes in “tightening up” the current criminal background system, which he said is “overbroad” and “inaccurate,” and may prevent convicted criminals from making a clean start.