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Massachusetts Criminal Records

Massachusetts State Seal

Obtain State of Massachusetts criminal records in real-time using our court-connected gateway. Records come directly from the Massachusetts Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS). The report is known as iCORI which stands for Criminal Offender Record Information.

  • Felonies and Misdemeanors
  • Turnaround time: 24 hrs or less. Positive “hits” may take additional business day.
  • Price: $20 + iCori fee

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Because Massachusetts provides very limited coverage information through any nationwide criminal database search, it is strongly recommended to order this real-time criminal records search when your applicant has resided in Massachusetts.

Employment Screening Laws in Massachusetts

The State of Massachusetts employs the recommended rules and regulations standard policies of the hiring guidelines established by the Fair Credit Report Act (FCRA).

  • Background check consent must be completed and signed in a separate stand-alone form separate from employment application as per FCRA. Must be clear and conspicuous to their knowledge
  • Establish an HR policy when conducting employment background checks for each job position. For example, what past criminal offenses are to be considered in relation to the job position

If derogatory records are found:

  1. If doing a nationwide criminal database search, verify that any database records found are updated and accurate at originating source (i.e, County Criminal Court and/or Real-Time State Criminal search
  2. Send FCRA Pre Adverse Action Letter. Wait at least five days to allow the applicant to dispute any discrepancies before taking any further action
  3. If by then, a decision has been made to not to hire the applicant based on the applicant’s response and further investigation of records found — a job declination FCRA adverse action letter must be sent

An employer that gets its information on applicant criminal records directly from the state’s Criminal Offender Reform Index (CORI) database – rather than from a third party vendor, such as a firm that conducts background checks for employers – enjoys certain legal protections. Such an employer is not liable for negligent hiring if it makes a hiring decision within 90 days of receiving the applicant’s criminal record from the state. For example, if the employee injures a third party, who claims that the employer should have known the employee was dangerous, the employer can escape liability if it relied on the state’s criminal database information in making its decision to hire the employee. Similarly, the employer cannot be held liable by the applicant for discrimination in hiring if its decision was legal based on the criminal record information received within the previous 90 days from the state. For instance, if the state’s information is erroneous, but the employer relied on it to make a decision that would have been legal had the information been correct, the rejected applicant cannot sue the employer.

Massachusetts Senate Bill 2583 applies to private and public employers

Massachusetts has among the strongest protections for applicants with criminal records. Some of these protections have been in place for a while; some just went into effect in 2012.

Massachusetts recently enacted a “ban the box” provision, which prohibits employers from asking about any kind of criminal record information on their initial written applications. If an employer wants to ask an applicant about his or her criminal history (for example, in an interview), the following rules apply:

  • Employers may not ask about arrests that did not lead to a conviction
  • Employers may not ask about first-time convictions for drunkenness, simple assault, speeding, minor traffic violations, affray, or disturbing the peace
  • Employers may not ask about misdemeanor convictions that are at least five years old unless the applicant has another conviction in the last five years
  • An employer that asks about criminal history must include a statement that an applicant whose record has been sealed is entitled to answer that he or she has no criminal record
  • Before an employer can ask an applicant about criminal history, the employer must give the applicant a copy of the criminal record information the employer has about the applicant. If the employer makes an adverse decision about the applicant, it also has to provide the applicant with a copy of the record, if it hasn’t already done so.

An employer that conducts five or more criminal background checks annually has additional obligations, similar to those imposed by the FCRA. Such employers must:

  • Notify the applicant of a potential adverse decision based on the applicant’s criminal history
  • Give a copy of the history to the applicant, along with the employer’s policy on the use of such information
  • Give the applicant information on the procedures to correct a criminal record

Remember that an employer must always consider EEOC guidance when making a hiring decision. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) calls for companies to conduct an Individualized Assessment based on the nature of the offense and how it relates to the job position prior to automatically disqualifying an employment applicant based on their past criminal records history.

When determining whether a criminal offense would disqualify a potential employment candidate, employers must give consideration to:

  1. The nature and gravity of the criminal offense
  2. How much time has passed since the offense or sentence
  3. The nature of the job (including where it is performed, how much supervision and interaction with others the employee will have, etc.)

The EEOC has stated that employers ought to give job seekers with a criminal record the opportunity to explain the circumstances and provide mitigating information showing that the employee should not be excluded based on the nature of the offense.

Disclaimer: All resources in this informational article are intended for basic informative purposes and to serve as initial guidance. It is strongly recommended to always check with your legal counsel before proceeding as new laws may emerge from federal and local municipalities after the date of this article.

What is the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS)?

DCJIS is the Massachusetts agency statutorily designated to:

  • Oversee the authorized provision of Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) to the non-criminal justice community
  • Provide a public safety information system and network to support data collection, information sharing, and interoperability for the Commonwealth’s criminal justice and law enforcement communities
  • Provide support to the Criminal Records Review Board
  • Operate the Firearms Records Bureau
  • Provide and technically support the Victim Notification Registry for the victims of crime

Massachusetts Criminal Records Sample Report

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Massachusetts Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS) seal

THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND SECURITY
Department of Criminal Justice Information Services
200 Arlington Street, Suite 2200, Chelsea, MA 02150, MASS.GOV/CJIS
TEL: 617-660-4640 | TTY: 617-660-4606 | FAX: 617-660-5973

Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI)
To Whom It May Concern:
The Massachusetts Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS) has conducted a computerized search of the Criminal Offender Record Information database.
The attached is a true copy of matching information from the CORI database for DOE, LINDA H and date of birth 01/15/1982.
Signed under the penalties of perjury this 13th day of February 2017.

N******  H*******
Massachusetts Department Criminal Justice Information Services

THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND SECURITY
Department of Criminal Justice Information Services
200 Arlington Street, Suite 2200, Chelsea, MA 02150, MASS.GOV/CJIS
TEL: 617-660-4640 | TTY: 617-660-4606 | FAX: 617-660-5973

Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI)
Request ID: E17STA-001528875412
Requested By: BCS BACKGROUND SCREENING, LLC
Date Generated: 02/13/2017 19:51 Page: 1 of 2

The information provided within this response contains only Massachusetts criminal offender record information and is based on the statutory access of the requestor. Unauthorized access, use or dissemination of this information is prohibited under Massachusetts General Law. This information is not fingerprint-supported and may not actually relate to the person whose information you are seeking. Individuals who believe there may be a discrepancy within this record should contact the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS).
This Massachusetts CORI was generated on 02/13/2017 19:51 as the response to your request submitted on 02/13/2017 19:49 with the following details:

Request Details
Request ID: E17STA-001528875412 Request Date/Time: 02/13/2017 19:49
Name: DOE, LINDA H
Former Last Name(s): PLUM, LINDA
Date of Birth: 01/15/1982 SSN: ***-23-4567
Sex: FEMALE Race: Unknown
Father’s Name: Mother’s Name:

Response Summary
NO CORI CRIMINAL RECORDS FOUND

This response is the result of a search of the iCORI database using the subject’s name and date of birth as submitted by the requestor. To ensure accuracy, it is the responsibility of the requestor to compare the information shown in the Request Details Section above to the subject’s personal identifying information. The DCJIS is not liable for any errors or omissions in the CORI results based on a requestor’s entry of inaccurate, incorrect, or incomplete subject information.

THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND SECURITY
Department of Criminal Justice Information Services
200 Arlington Street, Suite 2200, Chelsea, MA 02150, MASS.GOV/CJIS
TEL: 617-660-4640 | TTY: 617-660-4606 | FAX: 617-660-5973

Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI)
Request ID: E17STA-001528875412
Requested By: BCS BACKGROUND SCREENING, LLC
Date Generated: 02/13/2017 19:51 Page: 2 of 2

The information contained in this response is the result of an exact match of the subject’s name, date of birth, and last six digits of his or her social security number (if applicable), as submitted by the requestor, to information contained in the Massachusetts CORI database.
In its discretion, the DCJIS may use the information provided by the requestor to match to other fields on the iCORI report including, but not limited to, a former name or alias field. The requestor is responsible for verifying the subject’s identifying information with an acceptable type of government-issued identification at the time of its submission to the DCJIS, as well as for verifying that the identifying information contained in this record relates to the subject. This report contains only criminal offender record information that is maintained in the Massachusetts CORI database and does not contain criminal offender record information from other states or sources. This response contains only that CORI to which the requestor is statutorily entitled, based on information provided by the requestor at the time of request. The information contained in this CORI report is created and provided by entities other than the DCJIS. The DCJIS is not responsible for incorrect or incomplete information contained herein, or for any omissions from the contributing entities.
This CORI report is confidential. Any unauthorized access to, or dissemination of this document or the information contained therein is subject to the civil penalties set forth in M.G.L. c. 6, §168, and the criminal penalties set forth in M.G.L. c. 6, §178. Civil penalties include suspension or revocation of CORI access and monetary fines up to $5,000 for each violation. Criminal penalties include monetary fines up to $50,000, incarceration in a house of correction for up to one year, or both a fine and incarceration.

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