LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Department of State has provided more than 5,000 state ID cards and driver’s licenses to returning citizens since the start of a joint initiative with the Michigan Department of Corrections, according to a news release Wednesday.
The program, which ensures newly paroled Michiganders receive a driver’s license or state ID, has increased the number of these transactions by more than 10 times the amount conducted before the program.
“By providing identification to returning citizens, we are opening doors that enable them to re-enter the workforce and their communities,” Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said. “Our partnership with MDOC provides a valuable resource to formerly incarcerated individuals, ensuring they have the credentials they need to succeed.”
MDOS and MDOC announced the joint initiative back in June 2020 to assist returning citizens as they rejoin their communities by providing them with a driver’s license or state ID upon their parole.
The program was fully implemented after a successful pilot.
“Ensuring returning citizens have their vital documents upon release is an essential part of their successful return to society,” MDOC Director Heidi E. Washington said. “We are pleased with the success of this program, and know that it is having a real and profound effect on these individuals as they embark on the next chapter in their lives.”
Through the initiative, MDOC assists individuals designated for parole in obtaining required documents, paperwork and photos and forwards the documents directly to MDOS to process either a driver’s license or state ID.
Once the individual is paroled, they are provided their license or ID, registered to vote unless they indicate they do not want to be and given information on re-entering the workforce.
After launching the program last year, the departments collaborated to increase the number of returning citizens served.
While some parolees may refuse – or do not have the necessary personal information to process an ID – the collaboration has resulted in 95% of parolees last month receiving an ID or driver’s license.
Both departments say they expect to maintain this rate moving forward.