By IPC Immigration Counselor Kieran O'Sullivan

This week one of my callers was nervous because she was asked to fill out a, criminal offender record information (CORI) form.

A CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) is a person's criminal history. These forms are very common today and frequently come up in our day to day lives. If I want to volunteer in my child’s school, I have to have a CORI completed.

CORI records

You will have a Massachusetts CORI record if you have ever been charged with a crime in a state or federal court in Massachusetts, whether your case ended with a conviction, a finding of not guilty, charges were dismissed, or another outcome.

The Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS) is the state agency in charge of the criminal justice information system, including CORI services, for Massachusetts

CORI reports help protect public safety by allowing employers, school administrators, public housing officials, and others to screen out potentially dangerous ex-offenders. However, CORI reports also create a major barrier to employment, housing, loans, and other services for people with criminal records who are not a threat to society.

One person contacted me recently wondered if his immigration status is asked of him on the CORI form. It is not. However, an immigration attorney I consulted on the case reminded us that there is a question on the CORI form on Social Security Numbers. This can be left blank if a person is not yet in possession of the SSN and the person is mailing in the CORI form. However, attorney Chris Lavery pointed out the form cannot be done online without putting in the SSN.

If you do not have an SSN, you can request a copy of your CORI by mail. To get a copy of your Massachusetts CORI report by mail, you must send a Personal CORI Request Form to the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS).

You can call the DCJIS at 617-660-4640 (TTY: 617-660-4606) and ask them to send you a copy of the form. After you complete the form, you must sign the form in front of a notary public include a $25 check or money order payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts include a business size, self-addressed stamped envelope mail the notarized form, $25 payment, and self-addressed stamped envelope to:

Department of Criminal Justice Information Services
200 Arlington Street
Suite 2200, Chelsea, MA 02150
Your CORI report should reach you in a few weeks.

Free Immigration Clinic

We will have a free legal clinic on Tuesday, Nov. 5th, at 6:30 PM in The Banshee, 934 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester. Feel free to email me at the address above if you have any questions or - should there be inclement weather - you merely want to confirm the clinic is on. Attorneys Chris Lavery and Dan Harrington will be present to answer queries on all aspects of immigration and US citizenship. We will also review legal permanent residency and US citizenship applications that evening. All information remains confidential between us and pro-bono attorneys.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information contained in it is provided to inform generally, and is not intended as a substitute for individual advice. Immigration law is subject to frequent changes and individual circumstances can affect the application of certain legal provisions. For individual legal advice, please contact the Irish Pastoral Centre directly regarding upcoming legal clinics or consultation with an immigration attorney.