CORI stands for Criminal Offender Record Information. It is a listing of every crime that you have ever been charged with and includes the court dates and disposition of each charge. Even if you were not convicted of a particular crime, an entry appears on your Board of Probation record showing that you were arraigned on that crime. This is often enough for cause that prospective employer or school to pass you over for someone else with a clean record.
CORI Access Levels
When a party is seeking access to your CORI, how much information the Criminal History Systems Board (CHSB) provides to the requestor varies depending on the requestor's certification type. Requests for publicly accessible CORI require no certification on the part of the requestor, but certain other conditions must be met in order for the requestor to access publicly accessible CORI information.
Publicly Accessible CORI
The following information is available to ANY PERSON upon request: Conviction data and custody status and placement within the correction system, IF the individual named in the request has been (1) convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term of five years or more, OR (2) convicted of ANY CRIME and SENTENCED TO ANY TERM OF IMPRISONMENT, AND at the time of the request: (A) is serving a sentence of probation or incarceration, or (B)is under the custody of the parole board; or (C)having been convicted of a MISDEMEANOR, has been released from all custody or supervision for not more than 1 year; or (D)having been convicted of a FELONY, has been released from all custody or supervision for not more than 2 years; or (E) being been sentenced to the custody of the department of correction, has finally been discharged therefrom, either having been denied release on parole or having been returned to penal custody for violation of parole, for not more than 3 years.
Entities that have been certified as "Criminal Justice Agencies" (i.e. state and local police departments, courts, district attorneys offices) have full access to all CORI information. This means that a criminal justice agency receives information on convictions, non-convictions (such as CWOFs and dismissals) and pending criminal cases, with no time restrictions.
"Agencies that are statutorily required to access CORI" include the following: councils on aging, home care agencies, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, day care agencies, operators of camps, youth volunteer agencies, transportation companies providing services to schools and public and private schools. These agencies receive information on convictions, non-convictions (such as pretrial probations, continuances without a finding, and dismissals) and pending criminal cases, with no time restrictions.
Agencies Where Public Interest Outweighs Privacy Interest - MGL Chapter 6, Section 172 (c)
These types of agencies are neither criminal justice agencies nor agencies required by statute to access CORI. Examples of this type of agency include armed forces recruiters, ambulance companies, adoption agencies, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts, companies whose staff has the potential for unmonitored access to children, and providers of subsidized housing. Please note this is a non-exhaustive list. These types of agencies can receive information on convictions and pending criminal cases only, with no time restrictions.
Access to Sealed Criminal Records
What if your CORI has been sealed? Again, the level of CORI provided to the requestor depends on identity of the requestor. For non-criminal justice agencies (this includes parties who are not certified, and entities that are certified under section 172(b) and 172(c)), a request for sealed CORI information is answered with "No record" for adult and juvenile records.
A non-criminal justice agency's request for CORI, after the CORI has been sealed, will NOT be answered with "Sealed record on file", thereby raising a red flag in the requestor's mind.
For criminal justice agencies requesting access to a sealed CORI, the request is answered with either, "At least 1 sealed record on file" (for sealed adult records) or "Sealed delinquency record over three years old" (for sealed juvenile records). Although criminal justice agencies are made aware of the sealed record, they cannot break the seal and view the contents of the sealed CORI, except for firearms licensing authorities.
What To Do If You Have A Board of Probation Record
Knowing how much information a potential employer or school can access is invaluable. Anyone who has ever been charged with crime should consult with an attorney to find out what information is available to a potential requestor and what steps can be taken to minimize the damage that having a Board of Probation record can create.
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