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Boston, MA — The Massachusetts Probation Service has reduced the wait time for individuals seeking to seal their criminal records to assist those with minor offenses find employment.
The wait time, which used to be more than three months, is now down to one day for records sealed by a judge and processed by Probation (100 C sealings), and a three-day turn around for records sealed by Probation’s Sealing Unit (100 A & 100 B petitions).
This unit is one of two departments that are under the umbrella of the agency’s Records Unit which also includes the CIMG (Central Identity Management Group). The CIMG analyzes, updates, and maintains data contained in all court-related databases governed by the Commissioner of Probation. The Sealing Unit is sealing from 3,000 to 5,000 cases per month.
“The goal is to help individuals with past minor indiscretions have a better opportunity to gain employment,” said Thomas Capasso, Probation Records Unit Director. “Because we anticipate the demand for sealing records will continue to increase, a one-day turn around might not always be the norm. Therefore, it is our goal to keep the wait time to under a month which will still benefit those seeking work.”
This new wait time is a marked improvement from a year ago when the turn around time was more than three months, according to Capasso. He attributes the decreased wait time to the hard work of the Records Unit staff and some reorganization of job duties which allows Sealing Unit staff time to focus solely on sealing petitions. Last March, the Records Unit began tracking sealings by the number of cases sealed.
The number of petitions for sealing records increased nearly 60 percent in the past five years due to the passing of the CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) Reform which rolled back the time frames for sealing of convictions from 15 to 10 years for felonies and misdemeanors from 10 to five years. The increase in petitions was attributed to the focus of CORI reform on the reintegration of people with criminal records into the workforce.
January – 3,320
December – 4,398
November – 3,796
October – 4,444
September – 4,880
August – 4,188
July – 3,329
June – 5,138
May – 4,732
April – 5,073
March – 5,743