On March 1st, Greater Boston Legal Services and the BBA will host a CORI Sealing Training. We reached out to Pauline Quirion, of Greater Boston Legal Services to learn more about what the Project will do and how volunteers can help.
BBA: What is the project and what does it hope to accomplish?
Pauline: The Community CORI Project, a project of Greater Boston Legal Services, helps individuals in Boston’s poorest communities seal their criminal records and learn about their rights as a result of CORI reform takes effect in May 2012. Having a criminal record, even if the case ended favorably, can trap individuals and their families into unemployment, poverty and sometimes hopelessness. People with criminal records are denied jobs, housing, and other opportunities for economic stability and social mobility. The impact is greatest in communities of color because of racial disparities in who becomes involved in the criminal justice system. In keeping with the BBA’s tradition of promoting access to justice and equality under the law, we propose to address this problem through community education and advocacy in the underserved communities of Mattapan, Roxbury and Dorchester.
BBA: What does a volunteer do? What is the time commitment?
Pauline: The project seeks volunteers to:
(1) represent a pro bono client or provide Limited Assistance Representation (LAR) in a criminal record sealing case in the Boston Municipal Court; and/or
(2) lead or help with a community education event in Roxbury and other Boston locations to educate low income individuals about their rights to seal their records as a result of CORI reform that takes effect on May 4, 2012; and/or
(3) lead or help with a presentation at a high school, youth program, or community venue to educate young people and others about their rights to seal their juvenile records and/or CORI.
The time commitment is six to twelve hours.
BBA: Does the prospective volunteer need a specific background or practice area to help with the project?
Pauline: Attorneys of all backgrounds are encouraged to volunteer to take a case or teach one or more sessions. The Project provides training, materials and mentoring on cases.
BBA: How have current volunteers helped?
Pauline: Volunteers help in many ways, including at GBLS’s monthly court clinics in the courtroom or at a CORI table in Dorchester or Roxbury courts. Other lawyers accept pro bono cases or provide limited representation by drafting affidavits for clients who need to go to multiple courts to seal their records. One attorney does outreach to young people by doing presentations geared to high school students with juvenile records or CORI. With CORI reform happening on May 4, we need help getting the word out and volunteers to help with larger community events where people will drop by to fill in forms and so forth to seal their records.
If you would like register for the training, please click here. If you have any questions about the Project or the training, please contact Stephanie Lee, Public Service Programs Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.