As a defense attorney, Patrick sought to lessen the death sentence for a convicted cop-killer, she points out in an ad with which her campaign is blanketing the airwaves. He also contributed to a fund to get a DNA test for a convicted rapist.
Yet, as The Boston Globe has reported, Healey voted when she was a private citizen against the release of criminal background information on persons seeking sensitive jobs with agencies that serve people with disabilities.
In 2001, Healey voted against a request for CORI information by a local chapter of Best Buddies, a national organization that links persons with mental retardation with nondisabled peers. The Board nevertheless voted 8 to 2 to provide that information to the nonprofit organization.
In another 8-to-2 vote, Healey opposed providing CORI information to the Adult Day Care Center, Inc., which was seeking background information on potential clients in order to avoid putting other clients at risk, according to The Globe.
Healey also voted with the majority against a request by the city of Holyoke's Licensing Board for access to the CORI records of applicants for public lodging licenses. According to The Globe, the Holyoke agency said it was more likely that landlords with criminal histories would rent to tenants with criminal backgrounds.
We at the Massachusetts Coalition of Families and Advocates for the Mentally Retarded, Inc. (COFAR) have written before about the need for legislation authorizing a national background check on persons seeking direct-care positions with agencies serving those with mental retardation. When it comes to hiring people to work in certain senstive occupations--particularly those that involve working with children, the elderly, and people with disabilities--it would seem a no-brainer that CORI and other background information should be made readily available.
We are sensitive to the need for reform of the CORI system, which can work against many people who have been convicted of minor offenses. Many of those people, who have paid their debt to society, subsequently find it difficult to get jobs because of their records. But organizations such as Best Buddies are obviously looking for information about serious offenses, such as convictions for sexual or physical abuse.
Thus, it boggles the mind as to why Healey would have voted against the dissemination of this kind of information to those agencies.