Preston floorSPRINGFIELD – A law championed by State Senator Willie Preston requiring the Secretary of State to provide previously incarcerated individuals with an Illinois ID upon their release goes into effect Monday, Jan. 1, 2024.

“We are offering a lifeline to individuals who have paid their debt to society,” said Preston (D-Chicago). “Access to valid identification isn’t just about a card; it’s a key to unlocking opportunities, restoring dignity and rebuilding lives. This law ensures individuals aren’t faced with unfair barriers while reentering our communities.”

The new law requires the Secretary of State to provide individuals committed to the Illinois Department of Corrections or the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice with a valid ID after receiving the individual’s birth certificate, social security card, photograph and proof of residency upon discharge.

The corrections agencies are required to help the individual obtain a certified copy of their birth certificate and social security card. If, for any reason, an individual does not receive an ID, they must be provided with information on how to obtain an ID at least 45 days prior to their discharge. 

“This important legislation ensures everyone leaving Illinois correctional facilities will have a state ID to help them reintegrate into the community,” said Reverend Lindsey Hammond, Restore Justice Policy Director. “Restore Justice has heard far too many stories, including from our staff members, about the difficulty of obtaining an ID. This is frustrating for people who are eager to restart their lives and contribute to their communities. Thank you, Senator Willie Preston, Representative Cyril Nichols and all of the bill’s co-sponsors for supporting people coming home and their families.”

The Policy Manager at Restore Justice, James Swansey, returned home from prison three years ago and knows how important it is for Illinois to prioritize re-entry services and resources.

“Coming home after prison, whether someone spent decades or years incarcerated, is an incredibly difficult process,” said Swansey. “You are starting over. It can be difficult to find a job and a place to live, and it is challenging to navigate a changed world. By making it easier for people to secure IDs and start the process of adjusting to life at home, Illinois is helping people be successful.”

House Bill 3345 goes into effect Jan. 1, 2024.