Auto-seal pitched to solve criminal records backlog

BOSTON (SHNS) – Legal and social justice advocates joined legislative sponsors outside the State House on Tuesday to push for a judiciary committee that would automatically file eligible, removing potential roadblocks to housing, employment and other. opportunities.

The latest deadline for a committee decision on legislation (H 1763 / S 1037) is that the required waiting periods after a criminal record sealing automatic are June 30 and Senate co-sponsors. Cindy Friedman and Jamie Eldridge were due to join the Greater Boston Legal Services, Justice 4 Housing and Public Health Institute of Western MA on Tuesday to call on Judiciary Committee members to advance the bill. The House version was filed by Rep. Liz Malia.

“The current CORI sealing process has a significant backlog that prevents people from accessing housing and jobs and disproportionately impacts low-income communities and communities of color. The current system is so complex that people often can’t navigate without legal aid, ”organizers said in a media advisory.

“This bill requires the filing of petitions to individuals with and without applicable waiting periods after a period of selective criminal and juvenile records. Currently, it takes about four months to get a reply. Friedman’s office pointed to a 2007 Boston Foundation estimate that there were 2.8 million individual criminal records on file in Massachusetts and that about 70,000 people were convicted of a crime here each year.

“These records have a profoundly negative impact on peoples’ lives. In the digital era, with nearly 9 in 10 employers, 4 in 5 landlords, and 3 in 5 colleges now using background checks, no record – no matter how old or minor – can put employment, housing, education, and other opportunities out permanently. of many for reach, ”the Arlington senator’s office wrote in a bill summary. “While the Felony records carry the greatest stigma, any record – including misdemeanors and even charges – has been dropped – a long-term roadblock to future opportunities.”

In 2020, the Senate supported an amendment that Friedman filed an IT bond bill to provide $ 2.5 million to the commissioner’s probation office for technology improvements to automate the process of sealing criminal records. The amendment survived conference negotiations and was included in the version that Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law.

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