Helping Individuals with criminal records Reenter through Employment

Massachusetts

I. Massachusetts Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Contact:
Massachusetts Department of Labor & Workforce Development
3 Ashburton Place, Room 2112
Boston, MA 02108
617-727-6573
617-727-1090 fax
Web Site: www.mass.gov/dol/

Information about State Department of Labor resources may be of interest to:
• potential employers looking for incentives to hire individuals with criminal histories;
• service providers and individuals with criminal histories who are looking for assistance in finding employment; and
• researchers and policy makers looking at current programs to ascertain what programs are effective and serve their intended purpose.

A. Federal Bonding Program
The Federal Bonding Program provides fidelity bonding insurance coverage to individuals with criminal histories and other high-risk job applicants who are qualified, but fail to get jobs because regular commercial bonding is denied due to their backgrounds.

Contact:
Special Programs - Bonding
Massachusetts Division of Employment & Training Administration
Charles F. Hurley Bldg., Govt. Center
19 Staniford St., 1st Fl.
Boston, MA 02114
617-626-6448
617-727-8671 fax

B. Tax Credits
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal tax credit to reduce the federal tax liability of private for profit employers to be used as an incentive for employers to hire individuals from eight different targeted groups: TANF recipients, veterans, ex-felons, high risk youth, summer youth, Food Stamp recipients, SSI recipients, and vocational rehabilitation referrals.

Contact:
Massachusetts Division of Employment & Training Administration
19 Staniford St., 1st Floor
Boston, MA 02114
617-626-5730
617-727-8671 fax

C. Unemployment Insurance Office
Unemployment compensation is a social insurance program designed to provide benefits to most individuals out of work, generally through no fault of their own, for periods between jobs. In order to be eligible for benefits, jobless workers must demonstrate that they have worked, usually measured by amount of wages and/or weeks of work, and must be able and available for work.

The unemployment compensation program is based upon federal law, but administered by states under state law.

An individual can apply for unemployment insurance claims benefits over the telephone or by visiting a local walk-in center. Locations for walk-in centers are listed on the web site or may be found by calling 617-626-6560, ext. 331.

Contact:
Massachusetts Division of Employment and Training Administration
Administrative Offices, Charles F. Hurley Bldg.
19 Staniford St.
Boston, MA 02114
617-626-6600
Web Site: www.mass.gov/lwd/unemployment-insur/

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II. Criminal Record Repository

This is the agency individuals may contact to obtain a copy of their state rap sheet. The criminal record repository can also tell the individual who else is legally entitled to have access to his or her record.

An individual should contact the Criminal History Systems Board, CORI Unit to request a “Personal Criminal History Form.” There is no fee.

Contact:
Criminal History Systems Board
Attn: CORI Unit
200 Arlington St., Suite 2200
Chelsea, MA 02150
617-660-4600

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III. State Attorney General

Employers and service providers may obtain information from the state attorney general regarding occupational bars, the licensing of individuals with criminal records in certain jobs, and whether the state has laws that limit what employers may ask job applicants or protections against employment discrimination based on a criminal record.

Contact:
Office of the Attorney General
1 Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108
617-727-2200
Web Site: www.ago.state.ma.us

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IV. State Department of Corrections

Prison Industry Program

The Massachusetts Department of Corrections operates several traditional industry programs. The Department believes inmates will develop occupational skills and discipline through work assignments that enhance successful reintegration. Services offered by industry participants include moving, optical lab work, painting, printing, metal/wood refinishing and renovation/construction work. Items manufactured by the prison industry program include janitorial supplies, e.g. chemical cleaners, brooms, brushes, trash/waste receptacles, office furniture, signs, name tags, metal/plastic/street signs, linens and custom wood products.

Contact:
Massachusetts Correctional Industries
P.O. Box 188
Norfolk, MA 02056
617-727-0227
Web Site: www.state.ma.us/doc/MASSCOR/index.html

Work Release Program

The Massachusetts Department of Corrections has a work release program. Offenders must be 18 months or less prior to release date to be eligible. Participants are expected to work full time; 15% of their salary is paid to the state for room and board. Offenders may return to the surrounding community during evening hours for participation in such activities as substance abuse meetings, mental health group sessions, etc.

Contact:
Massachusetts Department of Corrections
Central Headquarters
50 Maple St., Suite 3
Milford, MA 01757
508-422-3300
508-422-3382 fax
Web Site: www.mass.gov/eopss/

Pre-Release Program

The Public Safety Transition Program is the name of the pre-release program in Massachusetts. The first component, risk reduction, is an individual plan developed at initial offender classification. The goal is to enhance public safety. The second component begins when an offender is within one year of release. This component includes the development of a transition plan which addresses specific post-release issues such as employment, housing, medical, substance abuse treatment and basic life skills. Participation in pre-release programming is not mandatory but is greatly encouraged by correctional counselors.

Contact:
Massachusetts Department of Corrections
Central Headquarters
50 Maple St., Suite 3
Milford, MA 01757
508-422-3300
508-422-3382 fax
Web Site: www.mass.gov/eopss/

Post Release Transitional Program

There are five community resource centers located in various areas in Massachusetts. Services offered to offenders recently released from state and county facilities include referrals or assistance with housing, mental health needs, conflict resolution, job training and job placement. Another program available to offenders is the Correctional Recovery Academy (CRA). This is a three-component program that is geared toward offenders who are at the highest risk to recidivate. The first component is an intensive residential unit targeting criminal thinking, the teaching of anger management skills, and relapse prevention strategies. The second component reinforces attitudinal and behavioral changes achieved in the first component. Transition plans are initiated at this time. Community based program placements is the third component. Aftercare counselors make the placements and track released offenders at seven, 30, 90 and 120-day intervals to measure compliance with established transition plans.

Contact:
Massachusetts Department of Corrections
Central Headquarters
50 Maple St., Suite 3
Milford, MA 01757
508-422-3300
508-422-3382 fax
Web Site: www.mass.gov/eopss/

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V. Massachusetts Parole Board

Thirty-five percent of all offenders in Massachusetts are released under parole supervision. Field officers work with parolees to assist them in following the transitional plans that were developed before parole release.

Contact:
Massachusetts Parole Board
27 Wormwood St., Suite 300
Boston, MA 02210
617-727-3271
617-727-5047 fax
Web Site: www.mass.gov/eopss/

Contact:

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VI. Legal Assistance

Free or low-cost legal resources, both in civil and criminal law, are helpful to individuals with criminal histories in learning about relevant state laws governing the expungement or sealing of criminal histories or addressing other legal issues resulting from having a criminal history.

A. State Public Defender

Contact:
Public Defender Division
Committee for Public Counsel Services
44 Bromfield St.
Boston, MA 02108
617-482-6212
617-988-8495 fax
Web Site: www.state.ma.us/cpcs/pdpage.htm

B. Legal Services

Contact:
Committee for Public Counsel Services
44 Bromfield St.
Boston, MA 02108
617-428-6212
617-988-8495 fax
Web Site: www.state.ma.us/cpcs

Greater Boston Legal Services

Contact:
Employment Unit
Greater Boston Legal Services
197 Friend St.
Boston, MA 02114
617-603-1666

The Massachusetts Law Reform Institute works assisting individuals with criminal records in ameliorating the adverse civil impacts and barriers impeding re-entry efforts. They assist in sealing records and are also working on legislative reforms.

Contact:
Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
99 Chauncey St.
Boston, MA 02111
617-357-0700

Western Massachusetts Legal Services is working on employment issues facing low-income families, including those who have a family member with a criminal history.

Contact:
Western Massachusetts Legal Services
127 State St., 4th Fl.
Springfield, MA 01103
413-781-7814
E-Mail: info@wmls.org

Contact:

C. State Bar Association

Contact:
Massachusetts Bar Association
20 West St.
Boston, MA 02111
617-338-0694
617-338-0650 fax
Web Site: www.massbar.org

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VII. Local Service Providers

Community agencies are available to assist individuals with criminal records find employment. This information will inform individuals with criminal records about government agencies and community-based organizations that assist with employment, education or vocational training. Researchers and policy makers may find this information useful in identifying agencies and service providers in order to evaluate the effectiveness of these programs.

One-Stop Career Centers

One-Stop Career Centers offer a variety of employment-related services for both employers and job seekers. Included in the services are computerized listing of jobs, referrals to jobs, current labor market information, job search resources and workshops. The centers are administrated locally by Regional Employment Boards to ensure that each center is meeting the needs of its community. Additional state agencies and local community agencies may also be included in the local partnership. Information on the locations of and services offered at local centers is available on the Internet at www.detma.org/workers/centers/careercenters.htm.

Contact:
Massachusetts Division of Employment and Training Administration
Department of Labor and Workforce Development
Administrative Offices, Charles F. Hurley Bldg
19 Staniford St.
Boston, MA 02114
617-626-6560
Web Site: www.mass.gov/lwd/employment-services/career-services/career-center-services/

Dismas House

Dismas House is a supportive community providing transitional housing and services to people with criminal histories. Staff and community programs assist residents to develop and achieve employment, educational and housing goals. Employment is a priority goal for all residents with a criminal history. There is a $75 fee per week. For people with criminal histories who arrive directly from prison the fee is waived for two weeks. Failure to pay program fees constitutes grounds for dismissal from the house.

Contact:
Dismas House
P.O. Box 30125
Worcester, MA 01603
508-799-9389
508-767-9930 fax
Web Site: www.dismashouse.org

SPAN

Span is a reintegration counseling program for individuals with criminal histories who are being released from or are post-release from a state or county correctional facility. Assistance is offered in the areas of housing, employment and health. Job development and placement services are available on a limited basis, as well as employment skills such as resume writing and soft job skills.

Contact:
Lynn Levy, Director
SPAN, Inc.
110 Arlington St
Boston, MA 02116
617-423-0750
617-482-2717 fax
E-Mail: span.lynlevy@verizon.net

Offender Re-entry Program

The Offender Reentry Program provides academic, vocational and transitional support services to incarcerated people before and upon their release. Services include: a 30-hour four to six week life skills program supplemented by substance abuse and other treatment programming; intensive case management to address issues such as identification, housing, transportation, child support and health; integration with the workforce development system including one-stop career centers, community college and nonprofit service providers for workforce readiness, job placement and job retention support; and mentoring services to help make the cultural and social adjustment into community settings. The program is located in a community setting and enrollees are prisoners who have nearly completed their sentences.

Contact:
Offender Reentry Program
Hampden County Correctional Center
627 Randall Rd.
627 Randall Rd., MA 01056
413-547-8600

IMPACT

IMPACT Employment Services, a program of The Friends of the Shattuck Shelter, is Greater Boston’s largest employment service for individuals and families facing homelessness, including individuals with criminal histories. IMPACT counselors work with clients both before and after they are released. Individual employment counseling and job search planning, referrals and assistance to help people find and enroll in educational and job-skills training programs. Based in downtown Boston, IMPACT’s professional staff of employment counselors, job developers and educational and training specialists speak a variety of languages and represent diverse cultural and economic backgrounds.

Contact:
The Friends of the Shattuck Shelter
105 Chauncy St
Boston, MA 02111
617-542-3388
Web Site: mehi.masstech.org/what-we-do/hie/impact

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