Best Bet

Massachusetts Laws

Massachusetts Regulations

Executive Orders


Access to CORI

Reading a CORI Report

Your own CORI

By the general public

In housing

In employment

By court

By media

Sealing or expunging your record

Correcting your record

State Agencies

Print Sources

Best Bet

Know Your CORI Rights: Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) Sealing and CORI Reform pdf format of Know Your CORI Rights
file size 2MB, Greater Boston Legal Services, 2016.
Covers everything from sealing of records to CORI hiring ordinances, rights when interviewing for jobs, federal court sealing, and much more.

Massachusetts Laws

MGL c.6, s. 167-178B Criminal Offender Record Information Act (CORI)

Massachusetts Regulations

803 CMR 2-8 Dept. of Criminal Justice Information Services.
101 CMR 15 pdf format of 101 CMR 15
Health and Human Services Criminal Record Checks.
110 CMR 18 pdf format of 110 CMR 18
Department of Children and Families, Criminal Offender Records Check.

Executive Orders

Executive Order 495 pdf format of Executive Order 495 (Mass. Register # 1096)
: Regarding the Use and Dissemination of Criminal Offender Record Information by the Executive Department.


CORI Forms

Access to CORI

Reading a CORI

Accessing Your Own CORI

How Do I Get a Copy of My CORI? , Mass. Legal Help. Outlines the process and provides links to forms for requesting a copy of your own CORI.

Access by the General Public

  • Massachusetts Laws

MGL c.6, s.178A : Access by victims and witnesses
MGL c.6, s.172 (4) : Access by general public under certain conditions

  • Judicial Archives of the State Archives
    For information prior to 1860. The records for the various county courts (1636-1860) are in the Judicial Archives of the State Archives in Boston. For further assistance you may consult the Finding Aids for the County at the State Archives (Reference Desk) or Contact the Judicial Archives. You should try to find as much information about the case as you can before you contact them. We were told that the person's name, year of the trial, as well as the type of crime is helpful. The archivist suggested that local newspapers from around the time of the trial often provide detailed information.
  • Open Access CORI pdf format of Open Access Request Form
, Dept. of Criminal Justice Information Services
    "Any member of the general public may upon written request to the department and in accordance with regulations established by the department obtain the following criminal offender record information on a subject: (i) convictions for any felony punishable by a term of imprisonment of 5 years or more; (ii) information indicating custody status and placement within the correction system for an individual who has been convicted of any offense and sentenced to any term of imprisonment, and at the time of the request: is serving a sentence of probation or incarceration, or is under the custody of the parole board; (iii) felony convictions for 2 years following the disposition thereof, including any period of incarceration or custody; and (iv) misdemeanor convictions for 1 year following the disposition thereof, including any period of incarceration or custody."
  • Who Can See My CORI? , Mass. Legal Help
    Lists the types of people and organizations who have access to your criminal record

Housing and CORI Access

  • Criminal Records - Know Your Rights: A Guide to Rights in Employment and Housing, Mass. Attorney General.
    "Because we recognize the importance of access to employment and housing, we have prepared this guide to help educate residents as to their basic rights in these areas."
  • Housing and CORI , Mass. Legal Help
    Explains the access of a housing authority or potential landlord to your criminal history, and how to obtain housing if you have a criminal record. Covers both public and private housing.

Employment and CORI Access

  • Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 , EEOC.
    Under the guidance, background checks must be job-related and consistent with business necessity. When considering conviction records, employers must look at (1) the nature and gravity of the offense, (2) the amount of time that has passed since the offense, and (3) the nature of the position sought. According to the EEOC, arrest records are never job-related and consistent with business necessity because applicants must be treated as innocent until proven guilty.
  • Criminal Records - Know Your Rights: A Guide to Rights in Employment and Housing, Mass. Attorney General.
    "Because we recognize the importance of access to employment and housing, we have prepared this guide to help educate residents as to their basic rights in these areas."

  • MGL c. 71, s.38R
    Schools' access to criminal records; employees, contractors, and volunteers; use limited to protection of children
  • MGL c.151B, s.4 (9-1/2)  
    An employer may not "request on its initial written application form criminal record information," unless very specific conditions apply
  • MGL c.15D, s.7-8 Background Checks for Teachers.
    Teachers at schools and day care centers, bus drivers and others will be required to submit fingerprints for background checks.
  • Bellin v. Kelley , 435 Mass. 261, 755 N.E.2d 1274 (2001)
    According to this decision, an investigating police officer did not act wrongly in revealing an employee's CORI history to an employer. The decision further stated that an employer could fire the employee for the employee's failure to submit to a polygraph test. Summary judgments were thus granted for both the police officer and the employer who were among the defendants in the matter.
  • Criminal Offender Record Information Administrative Procedure Reforms pdf format of CORI Administrative Procedure Reforms MCAD
: MCAD Fact Sheet, November 2010
    Detailed explanation of what employers may and may not ask applicants under the new law, which employers must comply, and the relevant exceptions
  • Human Services Jobs and Your CORI , Mass. Legal Help
    Human services agencies face restrictions on who they may hire, depending on the criminal record involved. Outlines the laws and how to overcome obstacles in working for human services if you have a criminal record.
  • New Massachusetts Law on Criminal Background Checks , Jackson Lewis, August 2010
    Clear and concise explanation of the new CORI law for employers
  • " Primer on CORI Reform for Employers ", by Catherine E. Reuben. Mass. Law Review, vol. 95, Issue 1 (June, 2013), pp. 163- 170
    Good discussion of the 'key provisions of CORI Reform that went into effect on May 4, 2012
  • What Access to Employers Have to CORI? links to PDF file , by Georgia Cristley and Agapi Kouloris, MCLE.
    Covers both employers' access to CORI, and employer obligations regarding CORI.

Access by Court

Commonwealth v. Morse , 50 Mass.App.Ct. 582, 740 NE2d 998 (2000)
Appeals Court is entitled to access probation-related documents according to the Criminal Offender Records Information System, regardless of whether or not the records were included within the record of an appeal.

Media Access and Dissemination

Globe Newspaper Co. v. District Attorney for Middle Dist. , 439 Mass. 374, 788 NE2d 513 (2003)
Newspaper had sought disclosure of docket numbers of criminal cases involving municipal corruption, prosecuted in public judicial proceedings. Among its findings, court held that CORI statute did not prevent disclosure of criminal record information, but newspaper only had a disclosure right to the extent the requested information correlated with information available from court records or other public records.

Sealing, Expungement and Pardons

Massachusetts Laws

MGL c. 94C, s.34 Unlawful possession of particular controlled substances (provides for sealing of certain records)
MGL c. 94C, s.44 Violations of section 34; acquittal, dismissal or indictment nol prossed; sealing of records
MGL c. 233, s.21 Proof of conviction of crime to affect credibility
MGL c. 276, s.100A Requests to seal files.
MGL c. 276, s.100B Requests to seal delinquency files or records...
MGL c. 276, s.100C Sealing of records or files in certain criminal cases.
MGL c.276, s.100D Access by Criminal Justice Agencies

Court Rules

BMC Standing Order 1-09 (Revised): For the Sealing of Three or More Dismissals and Non-Conviction Criminal Records


  • Commonwealth v. Pon , 469 Mass. 296 (2014). Establishes a new standard and procedure for sealing of sealing of a criminal case ending in a dismissal or entry of a nolle prosequi, making it easier to have those records sealed.
  • Chief of Police of Shelburne v. Moyer , 16 Mass.App.Ct. 543, 453 N.E.2d 461 (1983)
    "Statute providing for sealing of record of a person convicted for possession of certain controlled substances does not preclude use by a chief of police...of departmental records which are not public records, maintained by police and other law enforcement agencies."
  • Commonwealth v. Boe , 456 Mass. 337 (2010)
    A judge does not have the authority "to order the Commissioner of Probation (commissioner) to expunge a defendant's record where the criminal complaint was dismissed because its issuance was premised on a mistake." "Massachusetts appellate decisions have construed the unambiguous language of G.L. c. 276, § 100C , as conferring on a judge the authority, in appropriate circumstances, to order sealing, but not expungement, of the probation and court records of dismissed prosecutions."
  • Commonwealth v. Doe , 420 Mass. 142, 648 N.E.2d 1255 (1995)
    Court provides an in-depth discussion regarding the sealing statutes, MGL c. 276 secs. 100A-C. Specifically, it clarifies the phrase "substantial justice," which is used in MGL c.276 sec.100C as follows: "the value of sealing to the defendant [must] clearly outweigh the constitutionally-based value of the record remaining open to society." Id., at 151.
  • Commonwealth v. Gavin G. , 437 Mass. 470 (2002)
    While Juvenile Court judges have the authority to order expungement of police records, they do not have authority to order expungement of probation records.
  • Commonwealth v. Moe , 463 Mass. 370 (2012)
    Relying on Commonwealth v. Boe , court ruled that a judge lacked the authority to expunge a criminal record, even where it was the result of a fraud on the court.
  • Commonwealth v. S.M.F. , 40 Mass.App.Ct. 42, 660 N.E.2d 701 (1996)
    "When statute governing sealing of certain criminal records is applicable, exercise of judicial power of expungement is no longer within authority of judge, but, when statute or other confidentiality statutes are not applicable, trial courts may invoke their inherent power to order expungement of criminal records."

Other Web Sources

Correcting A Criminal Record

  • MGL c.6, s.175
    "Subject to appropriation, the department shall provide assistance to individuals that have requested assistance to correct inaccurate or incomplete criminal offender record information. Such assistance shall include but not be limited to cooperation with appropriate entities to correct, modify or appropriately supplement criminal offender record information that has been determined to be inaccurate or incomplete."
  • Information Concerning the Process in Correcting a Criminal Record pdf format of Correcting a Criminal Record
, Dept. of Criminal Justice Information Services, 2012
    Explains what to do if your criminal record appears incorrect, such as when a case appears open but is actually closed, a disposition is listed incorrectly, or you are the victim of identity theft
  • Mistakes on CORIs , Mass. Legal Help
    In plain English, describes the process of correcting two types of mistakes: information about you that is incorrect, or information that is not about you

State Agencies

Department of Criminal Justice Information Services
200 Arlington St., Suite 2200
Chelsea MA 02150
(617) 660-4600
According to its own web site, the board "serves as the hub of information services for the law enforcement and criminal justice communities."

Office of the Commissioner of Probation (OCP) .
One Ashburton Place, Room 405
Boston MA 02108
(617) 727-5300

Print Sources

Last update: March 24, 2017

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