Don’t sanction secrets
May 27, 2008
This is another example of a law that could hamper an employers ability to run a thorough background check. Read our other postings on this subject you may be surprised to see our position on the subject.
By Boston Herald editorial staff
Saturday, May 24, 2008 – Updated 2d 23h ago
When it comes to reforming the state’s criminal records law, Gov. Deval Patrick can’t win for losing.
His bill aimed at smoothing the path to employment for ex-offenders is bogged down in a Legislature that can’t seem to find agreement on just what those reforms should look like – or whether they should make any changes at all. The co-chairman of the Judiciary Committee told the State House News Service last week that the proposal is hitting “a lot of roadblocks.”
Advocates for ex-offenders, meanwhile, continue to criticize Patrick for backing a measure they say doesn’t go nearly far enough. They staged a four-day march and a State House rally on Thursday where they called on Patrick to do more on behalf of ex-cons who have moved beyond their checkered pasts.
When both sides are kvetching it can be a sign of a good compromise. On this rare occasion we hope that’s not the case.
That’s because the criminal offender record information law, known as CORI, is an important tool for employers who have a right to information about the criminal backgrounds of their prospective employees. Tinkering with it to curtail access to that information is simply the wrong way to go.
Patrick’s bill would shorten the length of time before a felon can petition to have a criminal record sealed from public view – from 15 years to 10. For a misdemeanor, it would go from 10 years to five. In both cases the individual must have maintained a clean record in the intervening years.
A competing bill pushed by advocates would shorten the waiting periods to seven years for a felony and three years for a misdemeanor. But no matter how you slice it the “reforms” call for keeping secrets from those who have a legitimate right to know who is keeping their books or caring for a vulnerable senior citizen in their charge.
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