two gentlemen holding a sign that reads cori help today
February 19, 2024

Righting the wrongs. On February 14, 2024, the GBLS CORI & Re-entry Project scored a huge win in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The SJC's ruling stops the Commissioner of Probation from treating juvenile court youthful offender records as adult records, a practice which was giving children lifetime unsealable records in some instances. This unduly harsh past practice also made children wait seven years instead of three years to seal some other offenses at a critical time when they are transitioning to the workforce, school, and other opportunities. The SJC is to be applauded for this ruling which gives young adults second chances, particularly since they are less culpable based on brain development. The case was litigated by Pauline Quirion, Director of the GBLS CORI & Re-entry Project.

Next Steps: GBLS' work on behalf of youth continues because, while the Commissioner’s office is promptly sealing our client’s records, they are not sealing the records of other juveniles in the same situation unless these petitioners re-file a sealing petition (although they were misinformed by way of letters that they had never sealable records or had to wait seven instead of three years to seal other records). Stay tuned as GBLS is organizing with impacted individuals and community groups to address this second injustice and bring awareness to the SJC decision so that past petitioners know that they can seal their cases without delay.

GBLS thanks Paul Kominers, Kristen Gagalis, and Tamara Wolfson from Anderson Krieger; Leon Smith, Virginia Benzan, David Siegel, Susan Malouin, and Margaret Drew from Citizens for Juvenile Justice; Northeast Legal Aid, MLRI,  New England CORI Initiative, and UMass Human Rights at Home Clinic for filing an amicus brief in the SJC.