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City updates CORI reform ordinance

Martin Desmarais | 4/16/2014, 11:21 a.m.

“That is probably, for me, the strongest step forward in terms of hiring policy that we can do in terms of folks dealing with CORI issues,” said Reason.

While Boston has led the way in the state with its CORI regulation efforts, Worcester is another city that has also enacted an ordinance. Worcester passed its CORI ordinance in 2012 and it was modeled after what Boston has in place.

Steve O’Neill, executive director for interstate organizing for Ex-Prisoners and Prisoners Organizing for Community Advancement, said he supports any efforts to strengthen the enforcement efforts of CORI regulations.

“What the Boston Workers’ Alliance has done in Boston is really important because you really do have to follow up and see that the city agencies that are supposed to be carrying this stuff out are doing what they are supposed to do,” O’Neill said.

Even with a CORI ordinance in place, O’Neill said there is always a question about whether or not businesses or vendors that don’t adhere to the regulation are really kept from city contracts.

As a state, Massachusetts enacted significant CORI Reform in 2012, which changed who has authorized access to CORI and how CORI is accessed. Reform advocates began working with Boston at that time to examine how the state law would impact the 2005 Boston CORI Ordinance and make improvements.

Reason credited the Walsh administration for picking up speed on these efforts since the start of the year.

“We are grateful that the Walsh administration picked the ball up and moved relatively quickly,” he said. “We kind of felt like people were dragging their feet a little bit before.”