This summer, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed a landmark law reforming the state’s criminal background check system. Aimed at improving acc ess to jobs, housing and other vital services for residents with arrest records, overhauling the Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) has been a target for Massachusetts community activists for over a decade.

In 2001, radical Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner and four activists from the American Friends Service Committee occupied the Department of Public Health building, protesting new regulations that permanently banned most ex-offenders from working in health and human service agencies. The civil disobedience helped propel the issue of CORI into the political arena.