MAY 19, 2010
To facilitate life after prison and avoid discrimination,
A handful of states have measures that shield felons who want to work and live in their boundaries after being released from prison and
This week the Massachusetts Senate approved a law that will ban that access because it discriminates against convicted felons who want a fresh start. If the state House passes the measure, employers will also be prohibited from eliminating candidates at the start of an application process because they have a criminal history and felony records will be permanently sealed five years earlier.
To further assist convicts, the state will permit them to review their criminal records at no charge, increase penalties for the deliberate misuse of such records and create a new offense for using records to “harass former convicts.” The law has the full backing of the state’s top law enforcement officials as well as Governor Deval Patrick, a former Clinton Administration official who claims employers’ access to criminal records discriminates against the convicted felon.
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