Skip to main content

WBEZ News

Lawmakers Seek To Clear One Hurdle Preventing Prisoners From Getting Back On Track

Illinois leaders are seeking to eliminate one big - and stupid - roadblock for ex-prisoners looking to get their life on track. 

Right now it can be really difficult for people leaving prison to get a state ID. 

That makes it next to impossible for them to find housing, treatment and a job, and without those things, it’s likely they will wind up back in prison. 

Jennifer Vollen Katz, with prison watchdog the John Howard Association, says it is ridiculous for the state to force prisoners to prove their identity. 

“If we as a state are certain enough of someone’s identity that we can deny them liberty, then we should also be certain enough of their identity to get them a state id upon release,” she says. 

Now, a new bill seeks to require prisoners get legal identification when they are released from the Illinois Department of Corrections. It has bipartisan support, but it’s still not clear how long it will take for the change to go into effect.

Patrick Smith is a WBEZ producer and reporter. Follow him @pksmid.

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.

CLOSE X