Criminal System Involvement

Headline:

The Mass.gov website recently added a new form to their website to Petition for Expungement of Marijuana Offenses.

Last-reviewed: 9am, Jan. 17, 2023

Key Resources:

The Basics

  • A new expungement form for decriminalized marijuana offenses is now available on mass.gov.
  • Wearing a mask to court is encouraged but no longer required. The full court system health and safety protocol can be found here.
  • Cell phones are permitted in all courthouses.
  • As of July 2022, Massachusetts eliminated probation and parole fees.
  • People with upcoming court dates can sign up for eReminder notifications with the date, time, and location of their next scheduled court appearance.
  • The Office of the Ombudsman monitors and reports on the Department of Correction’s COVID-19 efforts.
  • Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts has an online library of self-help materials on a range of topics to help incarcerated people.

The Breakdown

  • The mass.gov website added a Petition for Expungement of Marijuana Offenses Form. This form allows you to ask a judge to permanently destroy, or “expunge,” the official court records of marijuana offense(s), if the amount of marijuana involved has now been decriminalized. More information on this form here.
  • Per the DOC COVID-19 visitor rules, visitors must take a rapid COVID test at a DOC regional test site before visiting a person in a DOC facility.
  • People can submit concerns about COVID-19 and an incarcerated loved one directly to the independent Office of the Ombudsman, which monitors and reports on the Department of Correction’s COVID-19 efforts.
  • Individuals with loved ones in custody at a sheriff-run local jail or house of correction should contact the location-specific office for visitation information.
  • Individuals can communicate with loved ones who are incarcerated by setting up a prepaid video visitation account with Securus.
  • The CORI and Re-entry Project at Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) has online CORI sealing materials and offers a Virtual CORI Sealing Clinic on the 2nd Wednesday every month from 2:00pm to 4:00pm. The Clinic provides low-income community members with free legal information about their rights and assists eligible community members with sealing and expunging their records. Register for a CORI Sealing Clinic here. People can also go in person to the Roxbury courthouse, 65 Warren St., 2nd Floor, on the 3rd Thursday of the month from 9am to noon.
  • Lawyers Clearinghouse has partnered with the City of Boston, Codman Square NDC, and Urban Edge to provide free, virtual CORI sealing clinics to community members who need assistance in sealing or expunging their Massachusetts-based CORI. Signing up can be done online.
  • Massachusetts has taken a step toward reforming criminal justice laws by eliminating monthly supervision fees, administrative probation fees, and victim services surcharges fees. Learn about probation fees that are eligible to be refunded here.
  • People seeking help with incarcerated loved ones can find self-help materials online or can call Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts.
  • People with upcoming court dates can sign up for eReminder notifications with the date, time, and location of their next scheduled court appearance. Flyers about the new e-Reminder service are available in multiple languages here.

The Bottom Line

  • People seeking help with incarcerated loved ones can find self-help materials online or can call Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts.