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December 19, 2008

CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
(617) 961-6682


Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral recently hosted a workshop aimed at providing comprehensive information about reading and understanding the C.O.R.I.(Criminal Offender Record Information).

Created in the early 1970’s as a means to disseminate information between judicial and law enforcement entities, the C.O.R.I. is a compilation of information that is collected by the criminal justice system that refers to a single or multiple criminal charges for which a person can be incarcerated. It also contains a record about the history of every criminal case, which carries through the arrest and court proceedings, to a non–guilty or guilty outcome, which could include a fine, probation, imprisonment, release, parole, and release from parole.

In more recent years, the scope of its use has increased as employers, agencies, and assorted organizations have begun utilizing it as a tool to screen individuals applying for employment and housing. Though the obvious need for C.O.R.I. is widely understood by many, a large number of employers and organizations lack the training necessary to properly comprehend the information contained in the document. Consequently, ex-offenders and those with C.O.R.I.’s have faced increased difficulty finding employment, housing, and obtaining various services.

In an effort to mitigate the information gap as it pertains to C.O.R.I., Sheriff Andrea Cabral – along with Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department Assistant General Counsel Timothy Dooling – led attendees through a practical forum that provided the group of more than 150 attendees with ample information and working knowledge about the contents of the document. Each participant was given a folder chock–full of materials provided by the Sheriff’s Department and the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, which was designed to serve as a reference guide long after the workshop.

“The important thing is that this is a practical workshop,” said Sheriff Cabral. “The goal is to have people gain practical knowledge as to what this data is and what it actually means, and how it can impact your search for employment and housing.”

With thorough attention paid to such topics as reading and understanding the C.O.R.I.; learning the disposition codes contained in the document; knowing your rights as the subject of a C.O.R.I.; fulfilling your responsibilities as the agency requesting the document; sealing and expunging criminal records; and a multitude of other important related features, several audience members offered praise to Sheriff Cabral following the informative question and answer session, and many in attendance collected extra folders to take back and share with members of their respective organizations.

“I came here to learn and listen,” said South Boston resident and South Boston Crime Watch Coordinator Ed Flynn. “I was especially impressed by Sheriff Cabral and Tim Dooling and their professional presentation – it was informational and educational. I talked to several ex–offenders, social service providers, and law enforcement officials following the presentation and I also learned a lot from them. I credit Sheriff Cabral and the Sheriff’s Department for their excellent work on educating the public about this important issue.”

To obtain a copy of the C.O.R.I. Reader and other related materials, visit: or call the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute at (617) 357–0700.

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