Freed-inmate ID bill signed by Rauner

It’s a simple step that will help cut down on the recidivism rate in Illinois prisons.

That’s what Gov. Bruce Rauner said about a bill to give state-issued ID cards to inmates leaving the corrections system.

The measure, signed into law by Rauner Thursday, would require the secretary of state to issue a standard Illinois ID card when someone is released, as long as the inmate provides certain documents. If the inmate doesn’t have the proper documents, a temporary ID card will be issued that’s good for 90 days.

State Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago, applauded the bill.

“Often times, having a state ID makes the difference whether these people can have a job, get into school, have housing, so this is a fantastic piece of legislation.”

John Howard Association Executive Director Jenny Vollen-Katz said the measure lifts just one of many hurdles facing offenders when they’re released from prison. However, Vollen-Katz said more can be done to ensure the Illinois Department of Corrections helps inmates get the proper documentation to get IDs.

“Waiving fees for the state ID card is great, but what this bill does not do is waive fees for other documents that you need to get a state ID card,” Vollen-Katz said.

Rockford’s Democratic State Senator Steve Stadelman co-sponsored the legislation. In a statement Thursday, he said the new law was just one way to help those who have served their time.

“This bipartisan proposal will make it easier for them to again become productive members of our society,” he said.

Rauner said the measure will help offenders get back on their feet so they can better reintegrate into society and avoid re-offending and winding up back behind bars.

The measure, Senate Bill 3368, will take effect in the summer of 2017.

–Illinois News Network, with Staff reports

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