SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Willie Preston passed a measure through the Senate on Wednesday that will require the Secretary of State to provide individuals committed to the Illinois Department of Corrections or the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice with an Illinois ID upon receipt of identifying documents which the IDOC or IDJJ must assist the individual in obtaining.

“When people are incarcerated, especially for long periods of time, the government ID they had when entering prison — like a driver’s license — may no longer be valid when they are released,” said Preston (D- Chicago). “Yet this small piece of plastic is needed for many of life’s basic necessities like housing, employment, medical care, banking, and, for those who need it, government benefit programs like food stamps.”

House Bill 3345 requires the Secretary of State to provide individuals committed to IDOC or IDJJ with an Illinois ID upon receipt of the individual’s birth certificate, social security card, photograph, proof of residency upon discharge, and application which must be submitted 60 days prior to the individual's scheduled release.

The bill has garnered support from community organizations and advocates for criminal justice reform such as Restore Justice, Ex-Cons for Community and Social Change, and the SAFER Foundation.

Each year, more than 600,000 people are released from state and federal prisons. According to the Prison Policy Initiative, 23,791 people were released from prison in Illinois in 2019. Individuals reentering society often face additional barriers when obtaining housing, employment, medical care, financial planning and help through various federal, state and local programs due to difficulties acquiring identification.

“My hope is that with this measure in place, we can give these individuals the peace of mind that they are not alone and won’t suffer in silence with no resources available to them,” said Preston. “We need these changes to ensure everyone gets the respect they deserve and support they need to fully reintegrate into their communities.”