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People leaving Illinois prisons will get state ID cards

November 6, 2021 GMT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — All people being released from Illinois prisons will leave detention with a new state ID card under a program expected to be in use in all state prisons by next year, officials said.

Illinois Department of Corrections Director Rob Jeffreys says the cards help former inmates reintegrate into their communities and reduce the likelihood they will return to prison.

A pilot program launched last year and expanded in April has processed 346 state ID cards as of October, state officials said. It should be operational in all 27 IDOC facilities by April.

To obtain the cards, inmates preparing to leave prison work with IDOC to gather vital documents. Corrections staff photograph the applicant and transmit everything to the Secretary of State’s office to process the request. The individual receives their card upon release. Under state law, there is no charge for the card.


Maria Garza left Logan Correctional Center on mandatory supervised release in June. She says for people like herself who were incarcerated for many years, the documents required to get an ID can be lost or misplaced. She says tracking them down after release can take weeks and “becomes a disheartening and hopeless experience for many” and she was thankful to have help getting her ID card.