Massachusetts Criminal Records

Massachusetts Road Sign

Massachusetts Criminal Offenders Records

The Problem

Massachusetts is the black swan of criminal records in the United States and US territories. Only sex offender data is covered in an instant nationwide search; felonies and criminal records are not covered. Massachusetts is the only state or territory in the US that does not offer criminal records outside of their state created database, the CORI database (Criminal Offender Record Information). However, we can perform a manual search of criminal records at the county level. This process involves sending someone physically to the county courthouse to place the request.

Whatever the reason, Massachusetts is resistant to change. However, legislators recently filed a bill that would increase access to public records by providing electronic public records and more staff to handle record requests. If this bill is passed, we will be sure to notify you. In the meantime, we suggest placing a nationwide criminal background search to cover any other states your potential employee may have lived in. In addition, the state has been criticized for limiting its access to public records. There are 19 pages of exemption in its 60 page guide to Massachusetts public records.

Why Massachusetts?

Under the old law, CORI information was maintained and regulated by the Criminal History Systems Board. Certain employers were allowed to automatically access the database. Others had to petition the Board to receive access or were not allowed access at all. The new law changes this corrupt method or scheme and creates a new system providing greater access for employers or background screening companies. The law created a new state agency, the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (“DCJIS”), to maintain and regulate the database of CORI information. After complying with certain requirements, employers are now allowed to obtain CORI information from the new database.

Our Solution

In some counties court runners can perform the record search on the counties public terminal at the courthouse, but in some other counties the court runners have to fill out a record search form and wait on the court clerks to perform the search. We have a nationwide network of experienced criminal record researchers who know the local courthouses and court clerks and actually go on site to retrieve the county records you are searching for.

Manual County Repository reports typically take 3 business days. However, Massachusetts court clerks are notorious for taking a frustratingly long time to perform a search. In some counties a search is not completed for 3-4 months. These are clerk controlled counties that are understaffed and the clerks put criminal searches at the bottom of their list of responsibilities.

Of the 12 counties in Massachusetts, the four counties below have a turnaround of 3-4 months:

  • Bristol
  • Essex
  • Worcester
  • Hampden

Our solution is to order all or some of the other 10 counties, then if you really need one of the 4 counties listed above, order them separately but expect a longer wait time.