One out of every twenty-one MA residents are under correctional control (Source: Pew Report). Only four other states arrest more of its citizens than we do. Nationally, one in eighteen men, and one in eleven black men and women, are in the system. Even after your sentence is complete, your criminal record (CORI) can follow you for life.
To help prevent misdemeanors from becoming life sentences, activists (Neighbor to Neighbor, Jobs with Justice) have been pushing for CORI reform for years. The work is starting to pay off. Reform legislation recently passed the MA House and Senate (with support from community activists and the criminal justice officials alike), and it is in conference now. Governor Patrick is ready to sign it.
Springfield resident, Orlando Ramos, came to our offices this morning to explain how the legislation works, and the implications for residents (video below). And on June 30th, the Springfield Health Disparities Project has organized a “CORI Independence Day” event to help residents understand their rights, seal their records, and move on (flyer here, PDF).