Earlier this week PHIWM joined over 50 advocates from across the state for a Clean Slate Strategic Planning & Action Summit. This day-long meeting was laser-focused on crafting a strategy and divvying up work to pass state legislation that would modernize Massachusetts’ Criminal Offense Record Information (CORI) system. People who have been involved with the criminal legal system in Massachusetts face significant barriers when it comes to sealing their CORIs even when they are eligible. People with unsealed CORI’s are affected negatively when trying to access jobs, housing, education, training, and other opportunities essential to their overall well-being and successful reentry into their communities. The Clean Slate Initiative estimates that this legislation would benefit and improve the lives of at least 462,000 people in the Commonwealth by automatically sealing CORIs as soon as they are eligible. Currently, only 4% of people eligible have been able to navigate the complex petition-based sealing process—one that often requires the help of an attorney.
We are an active member of the statewide Clean Slate Massachusetts coalition. If you would like to get involved in Clean Slate Western MA, please contact PHIWM Policy Director Andrea Freeman.
PHIWM’s focus on this legislation builds on the health impact assessment we conducted in 2021 with the help of Live Well Springfield and many community partners. We are grateful to the Point32 Health Foundation for their financial support of this work.
The Summit was sponsored by Clean Slate Massachusetts, the Clean Slate Initiative, and Roxbury Community College’s Criminal Justice Program. Participants from Western MA were PHIWM’s Project Coordinator Jacqueline Velez and Andrea Freeman; Men of Color Health Awareness’ (MOCHA) Lead Facilitator Brother Al Hubert, and Live Well Springfield Resident Advisor Sonia Mendez.
MOCHA’s Brother Al summarizes plans that the Organizing Committee of Clean Slate Massachusetts discussed at the Summit.