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IL House passes bill expanding free IDs program for inmates

SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) – An initiative from Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias now heads to Gov. JB Pritzker’s desk. The state House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday requiring the Secretary of State’s Office to offer free state ID cards to inmates as they are released.

Current law requires inmates released from state correctional facilities be offered a free ID. The bill would expand the program to federal programs as well as people being released from the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice. It would also give county jails the option to join the free ID program.

“ID cards are a big factor as individuals reenter society. Mainly we see a big difference as it regards to housing, unemployment, going to establish a bank account. These things are very important to address recidivism,” said state Rep. Justin Slaughter, D-Chicago, the bill’s House sponsor.

Giannoulias also celebrated the bill’s passage in a post on X.

The state Senate passed the bill on April 10. It passed along party lines on both chambers. Republicans expressed concerns about costs and a lack of means testing for inmates. Senate Republicans also argued the bill unfairly prioritizes inmates over people who follow the law but don’t have a lot of money.



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