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August 1, 2008

CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
(617) 961-6682


This week, Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral joined a panel of health and human services professionals at the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) to discuss the health effects and needed reform of state CORI laws.

Sheriff Cabral participated on the panel, which included Tina Brooks, Undersecretary of Housing and Community Development in the Massachusetts Office of Housing and Economic Development; Wayne Burton, President of North Shore Community College; Reverend Hurmon Hamilton, Jr., Senior Pastor of Roxbury Presbyterian Church USA; and Aaron Tanaka, Executive Director of the Boston Workers Alliance to discuss “CORI: A Public Health Issue.”

The event also featured a lineup of several speakers from BUSPH that included Moderator and Associate Dean Harold Cox, Associate Professor of Maternal and Child Health Emergency Medicine Judith Bernstein, and Boston Public Health Commission Executive Director Barbara Ferrer.

Speaking about the original idea behind the CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information), Sheriff Cabral addressed the need for systemic reform for ex–offenders looking to change their lives for the positive and the importance of support in that effort.

“CORI was created to share information between law enforcement agencies and it should still serve this purpose,” said Sheriff Cabral. “It wasn’t intended for use by anyone outside of that. There are people inside my institution who do desperately want to change. If people truly want to change, they should be allowed to capitalize on the opportunities.”

Taking on the theme of change, Reverend Hamilton encouraged everyone to become involved in the cause of CORI reform not only as individuals, but as a community.

“Redemption is at the heart of the issue and at the center of the Christian faith,” Rev. Hamilton said. “We have to demand that society live up to the issue of redemption and to make it possible for people to achieve it.”

Representing that redemption, Caroletta Shaw–Boyd spoke of the critical programming that she received as a former inmate at the Suffolk County House of Correction and the opportunity she was given to begin anew.

“I want to thank Sheriff Cabral for the things that she offered inside of her institution,” Shaw–Boyd said. “I took advantage of the programs that were available to me at the House of Correction and when I came out, I recognized the need to continue to change. Do some people use the system as a revolving door? Yes. Is it true that you can also redeem yourself after being in the system? Yes. I’m living proof.”

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