For Immediate Release - July 27, 2009


Administration testifies before Joint Committee on the Judiciary in support of meaningful CORI, criminal sentencing reforms

BOSTON - Monday, July 27, 2009 - In testimony before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, Governor Deval Patrick today called for meaningful Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) reform that will enhance employment and economic opportunity for citizens with criminal records and provide instant and accurate criminal record information to prospective employers and housing providers.

Following the Governor's testimony in support of CORI reform, Secretary of Public Safety Kevin Burke pushed for action on legislation to increase ex-offender supervision and training opportunities for inmates, another component of the Administration's comprehensive public safety package.

"Given that a job is critical to re-entry and preventing recidivism, it is important from a public safety point of view that we not limit their chance to get back on their feet and stay there," said Governor Patrick. "Fix CORI in the ways we propose and we will have taken a step forward both for ex-offenders and for the public at large."

The Governor's CORI reform legislation seeks to tighten the administration of the CORI system and provide all employers and housing providers with accurate and affordable records. The proposal eliminates access to stale records of ex-offenders who have proven they are not likely to recidivate; and gives individuals applying for jobs and housing more input over how they are considered by receiving notice of someone reviewing their criminal record and providing the right to contest the accuracy and relevance of those records.

Public Safety Secretary Kevin Burke and Correction Commissioner Harold Clarke offered testimony in favor of the Administration's mandatory post release supervision and sentencing reform initiatives. Specifically, those measures propose:

· Mandatory Post-Release Supervision : Inmates who serve a state prison sentence and are scheduled to be released to the street will be under mandatory supervision by the Parole Board for a period equal to 25% of their sentence, but no shorter than 9 months and no longer than 5 years.

· Sentencing Reform for Non-Violent Drug Crimes : Provides that defendants sentenced to mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes will be eligible for parole after serving two-thirds of the maximum sentence. Non-violent drug offenders serving minimum mandatory sentences will be permitted to participate in work release and community corrections programs.

Click to read the Governor's testimony, as prepared for delivery.