What Do We Know About the Criminal Population in New England and the Consequences of Having a Criminal Record? What Do We Know About the Criminal Population in New England and the Consequences of Having a Criminal Record?

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March 21, 2017

New research profiling the criminal population in the region, discussing the barriers to employment and reintegration that they face, and examining the ability of recent Massachusetts CORI Reform to improve outcomes for the state's ex-offenders.

“The Criminal Population in New England: Records, Convictions, and Barriers to Employment”

This report uses available data to profile the criminal population in New England and discusses challenges facing those with a criminal record. Among other things, the report shows that young men in New England account for a disproportionate number of arrests and convictions and that most people with a criminal record committed a misdemeanor, not a felony. Further, the report illustrates that New England’s mid-sized cities often host a disproportionately larger share of ex-offenders. The authors also discuss the challenges posed by the lack of linked data showing how individuals progress through the criminal justice system and the outcomes that ex-offenders experience after exiting the system.

“Reintegrating the Ex-Offender Population in the U.S. Labor Market: Lessons from the CORI Reform in Massachusetts”

This report explores the effect of Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) Reform (2010-2012) on ex-offenders' employment and recidivism rates. The goal of the reform package was to limit the negative consequences that having a criminal record imposes on ex-offenders. This report presents findings from empirical analysis of the effect of the CORI reform’s two components: (1) changes governing access to criminal records, and (2) a Ban the Box provision that prevents most employers from asking about criminal records on an initial job application. The authors find that CORI Reform caused a small reduction in both the average employment and recidivism rates of ex-offenders.

Associated resources

View summary research findings presented at a March 21, 2017 breakfast forum co-sponsored by the New England Public Policy Center, MassINC, and the Massachusetts Bar Association.

Interested readers may review the empirical analysis underlying this research report:

Working paper 16-30: The Effect of Changing Employers’ Access to Criminal Histories on Ex-Offenders’ Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from the 2010–2012 Massachusetts CORI Reform

Working paper 16-31: Does Changing Employers’ Access to Criminal Histories Affect Ex-Offenders’ Recidivism? Evidence from the 2010–2012 Massachusetts CORI Reform