People with criminal records would be able to more quickly shield that information from prospective employers under legislation proposed by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who says the change would give them a better chance to become productive citizens. The Associated Press says Patrick's proposed overhaul of the state Criminal Offender Record Information, or “CORI” system, is aimed at giving people a second chance after they've served prison or probation terms, and after being cleared of criminal charges.
“It improves their opportunity to get employment,” said Kevin Burke, Patrick's secretary of public safety. Massachusetts residents convicted of felonies now can seek to seal their criminal record after 15 years. Patrick's bill shortens the wait to 10 years, and shortens the wait on misdemeanor convictions from 10 to five years – if the person stays out of trouble. Employers search CORI records to weed out job applicants. Bradley MacDougall of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, which represents 7,000 employers, said there are mixed opinions about the bill. “There are concerns with the sealing of records,” MacDougall said. “The employers benefit by seeing the window of time.”