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Criminal Justice

The Criminal Justice Priority Area Group (PAG) was formed to address the issues that low income and minority citizens in Boston face when they enter the criminal justice system.  As is the case in the rest of the country, these marginalized groups are particularly susceptible to the most unfair laws and harshest punishments.

The Criminal Justice PAG chose to focus on CORI reform as their primary interest.

The Issue

Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) reports are issued to people who have been charged with any crime punishable by incarceration.  It does not matter is the charge was dismissed or issued, it still appears on the CORI report.  These reports stay open and accessible for 10 years for misdemeanors and 15 years for felonies.

CORI reports pose significant barriers for minority and low-income individuals who are both more likely to be involved in the criminal justice system and more likely to encounter basic problems obtaining employment.

Partnerships for a Solution

The HBLSA Social Justice Committee has recently partnered with the Boston Worker’s Alliance, the Union for Minority Neighborhoods and the Charles Hamilton Houston Center for Race and Justice as part of a robust CORI reform campaign. There is currently a proposed bill in the MA legislature and an anticipated reform bill by Deval Patrick.

If you would like to help the Harvard BLSA Social Justice Committee organize around this issue and get a reform bill passed with no unfriendly amendments, email


    Harvard Black Law Students Association presents...
    Social Justice Week

    March 2nd - 6th

    Monday: Social Justice Week Kick-Off

    BLSA general body meeting featuring a special presentation by Noah Hood and the BLSA Social Justice Committee

    Langdell South 7:00 pm

    Dinner will be served

    Tuesday: Education

    Education Awareness Candy Campaign Learn about some of the problems facing Boston's youth, including the unfair and exclusionary expulsion policies

    Harkness Common 12:00 noon

    Wednesday: Housing

    Housing Recovery Acts in MA Some of the areas foremost housing activists will gather to discuss legislation concerning predatory lending practices

    Hauser 101 7:30 pm

    Refreshments will be served

    Thursday: Criminal Justice

    Sealing Criminal Records: Implications for Social Justice

    A panel of the leading voices in criminal justice reform will speak about criminal record information laws.

    Austin Hall 7:00 pm

    A Soul Food Dinner will be served.

    Friday: Criminal Justice

    CORI Sealing Training

    Criminal Record Sealing Training involves hands-on training. Participants will be able to help with upcoming CORI Sealing projects.