A new measure would force people to get state IDs when they’re released from the Illinois Department of Corrections.
It took Deangelo Hampton two months to get an ID after he was released from prison.
“They talking about you can use your jail stuff to get state IDs, that’s just a lie,” Hampton said. “We went through a lot.”
The state doesn’t allow prisoners to use their release papers to prove their identity. Many former prisoners don’t have their birth certificate or social security card.
Without an ID, it is next to impossible to get a job or housing. Without a job or housing, it becomes much more likely that a former prisoner will end up getting arrested again.
Jennifer Vollen-Katz is with the prison watchdog the John Howard Association. She says it’s ridiculous that, right now, former prisoners have to jump through hoops to prove their identity.
“I mean, it seems to me that if you’re the dept. who denied a person their liberty, you should be very certain who that person is,” Vollen-Katz said.
Vollen-Katz says an ID is a first step for people looking to get a job, housing, or treatment. A state commission says providing prisoners with identification will help reduce the prison population.