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Michigan program issues state IDs to thousands of parolees

Scene at Michigan Department of state Branch Office, woman wearing a mask is behind a desk looking at a computer, while man with back facing the camera looks down at the desk
Michigan Department of State
The Michigan Department of State and Department of Corrections partnered on the program.

A state partnership is responsible for more than 5,000 parolees receiving their driver’s license or state IDs, according to a Michigan Department of State.

The Michigan Department of Corrections helps people designated for parole with the required paperwork and documents to receive their state-issued ID.

That information then goes to the Department of State, which then gives parolees their new cards upon release.

Department spokesperson Tracy Wimmer said getting a photo ID is often the first obstacle for people coming home.

“You need identification to do everything, right? You need it for housing, you need it to get a job, you need it to get a car. And frankly, the reality in Michigan is that you need a car to get to work,” she said.

The Department of State says more than ten times as many people leaving prison are receiving state-issued IDs compared to before the program started.

Alex Rossman is a spokesperson with the Michigan League for Public Policy.

He said the program is part of a series of criminal justice changes he’s seen in recent years that reduce barriers for people reentering society.

“What this program recognizes as well is that it can be challenging or intimidating for individuals to pursue this on their own without more help,” Rossman said.

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