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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 6, 2017 02:40 PM
From: Representative Donna Bullock
To: All House members
Subject: Co-Sponsorship: State IDs for Released Inmates
In the near future, I will be introducing a bill that would require the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to accept an inmate photo ID from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections or the federal Bureau of Prisons as proof of the identity and date of birth of an otherwise qualified applicant for the issuance or renewal of a state identification card or driver’s license, in addition to any forms of identification the department currently accepts.

U.S Attorney General Loretta Lynch recently urged state officials to accept photo identification cards issued by the federal Bureau of Prisons as proof of identity to obtain a driver’s license or state identification card. Attorney General Lynch said many of those who return from prison “face unnecessary roadblocks to getting a job and finding a place to live—making it more likely that individuals will slip back into the patterns that landed them in the criminal justice system in the first place.” She also recently appeared in Philadelphia to discuss the issue.

Having a valid form of state identification is crucial to everyday life, but many of those in prison have lost their identification during the criminal justice process, had their identification expire during incarceration, or never had identification to begin with. When they return to the community, they may lack documents such as a birth certificate that are necessary to obtain identification, may find the cost of obtaining new or replacement documents to be prohibitive, or may be faced with long processing periods even if they can afford replacements. Without identification, individuals returning from prison may find themselves unable to secure a job, housing or other benefits.

My legislation goes beyond Attorney General Lynch’s recommendations by extending the same eligibility to those being released from our state correctional institutions. This is a simple step we can take to ease the transition from prison into the community and help individuals avoid recidivism.

With that said, please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation. If you have any questions, please contact my Research Analyst -- Takesha Latham at 717-787-3480 or via email at tlatham@pahouse.net.

Introduced as HB518