Illinois looks to ensure released prisoners have access to state IDs

Easing ex-prisoners back into civilian life helps reduce recidivism, and one step states can take is to ensure that just-released inmates have a valid state identification card. In a letter earlier this year to all 50 governors, the U.S. Department of Justice asked states to provide IDs for federal prisoners being released, and according to The Atlantic, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio are among 17 states that have had preliminary talks with federal officials about taking that step.

Pending legislation in Illinois (SB 3368, awaiting the governor's signature as of Dec. 1, 2016) meanwhile, would ensure individuals get an ID upon their release from state prison if they present a birth certificate, Social Security card, and two proofs of address. Released Illinois prisoners without these documents would be provided with a temporary state ID. The bill is one of many recommendations made by a commission of state legislators, other state leaders and criminal justice experts on how to reduce the state’s prison population by 25 percent by 2025.

According to The Council of State Governments Justice Center, state-issued ID is frequently required to access social services, secure housing and apply for employment— all factors that can play a crucial role in a person’s successful reintegration into the community.
Stateline Midwest: November 20163.45 MB