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Ford Expands ID Availability for Ex-Convicts

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – With recidivism rates for Illinois convicts over 45 percent, State Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, sponsored a measure that would allow inmates released from an Illinois Department of Corrections or Department of Juvenile Justice detention center to receive a state ID card, free of charge.

“Currently, there is a temporary 30 day ID issued to returning citizens, but the issue remains that most employers do not accept the temporary IDOC ID as a legitimate form of ID for hiring,” said Ford. “The lack of government issued ID can be a huge determining factor in the potential for an ex-offender to recidivate. It is especially important in the first month back in society where many people are in search of stable jobs.”

Ford is a sponsor of Senate Bill 3368, a measure that would provide a means for ex-offenders to receive a state ID, a luxury that many of them cannot afford due to a lack of identification information or necessary funds. The measure, which passed the House on Wednesday, allows a released individual to receive a state ID from the Secretary of State by providing a copy of the individual’s birth certificate, social security card, and two documents confirming their Illinois residence. If a person does not have a copy of his or her birth certificate and social security card, they may also present an IDOC verification form in place of those documents to extend themselves time to bring the necessary documentation.

“Every time an individual returns to prison, it costs us as a state and as a society. Each incident of recidivism in Illinois costs about $118,000, $40,000 of which is directly funded by taxpayer dollars,” said Ford. “By providing them with real identification, they are able to have one less hurdle in a job finding process which is already extremely complicated for people with criminal backgrounds. It is in everybody’s best interest that these men and women can take a step toward playing functional roles in our communities.”

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