In a move that has many talking, Massachusetts has re-assessed its Criminal Offender Record Information law (CORI) to allow employers, landlords, and background screening company’s use of this online database as well. Previously, when the law was initiated in 1976, it was to restrict “dissemination of” criminal histories to law enforcement agencies and later, began serving as a database for background check screens for employees and volunteers working with vulnerable populations.
While the changes to this law allow access by others to the database, it limits the search to ten years back in a person’s criminal history. The point of this is to allow people who may have had something going on years back, but have since remained clean/clear, a chance to “reintegrate” into society and get a job. Often with some little thing on a criminal record, especially with today’s competitive job market, applicants with smidges on their background record will have a more difficult time getting a job. The exceptions to this time limit are sex offenses and homicides; good exceptions I think.
As comes with all such actions by a state, there are controversies and discussions about the limitations this places on employers and background screening companies. A large coalition of “community organizations,” 125 to be precise, has grouped together in the support of barring background screening companies access to this database should they continue to use other sources, such as court records, to dig back further in someone’s criminal record. Naturally, background screening companies do not want such limitations and want to be free to provide information they feel is relevant to their clients. But, proponents of the law over-haul argue for the second chance of people who can’t get a job because of an old “criminal” history. Apparently, this CORI system will be the most up-to-date and the most accurate database in the state for such information. In fact, they say it will probably save those doing background checks time and money, whereas, some background check companies take more time and money to conduct background checks.
With something like this, there will always be valid objections pointed out from both sides; but, you can’t please everyone. Some, if not most employers, will want to know if an applicant has any criminal history, especially if they are in certain positions. Do you think that employers should have the right to look back as far as they want in someone’s history? What are the potential consequences for not doing so, or for doing so?
Read more: http://www.boston.com/