(CBS DETROIT) – There’s not much you can do with out some form of identification.
It’s the first step to getting a job, car and even housing, but for many people returning home from prison, it’s a step that’s often missed.
“Sadly for people who don’t have id and don’t know the steps and processes and don’t have support to get id, their life could be severely stifled. We’ve seen people go back and forth in and out of prison because they’ve been unable to successfully transition into society,” said Hakim Crampton of the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission.
The Michigan Department of State and the Michigan Department of Corrections announced a joint program to grant state IDs and driver’s licenses to formerly incarcerated individuals.
“They’ve just gone through a major disruption in their life and so they don’t always have an easy time getting the documents together once they are released to actually work with our office and get an id or a driver’s license,” said Michigan Department of State Director of Communications Jake Rollow.
MDOC will obtain the necessary documents and photos for individuals scheduled for release and send the paperwork directly to the secretary of state.
Applicants will also be given the option to register to vote.
According to the Michigan Department of State all returning citizens are eligible to vote no matter the conviction once their time is served and this initiative will help them exercise that right.
“Having the power to vote upon release is critical for empowerment for returning citizens because it not only affirms that they have a voice, right but it affirms the value placed inside them as an individual in which they are critical contributors to society by being a member of society and having the power to exercise a vote at the polls,” said Crampton.
A pilot program of the service is currently active. The plan is expected to fully launch later this summer.
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