Clients come out of prison after serving their time, and they no longer have a birth certificate, valid driver’s license, state-issued ID or Social Security card. They have to reestablish their identity before they can even begin to look for work or housing. It’s a significant barrier to successful reentry.
The process to reacquire these documents that are so imperative to daily life can be cumbersome and sometimes take time that can delay — or worse yet, derail — a client’s journey to self-sufficiency and sustainability. They need time, assistance and support to work through the process.
Here is some advice for individuals being released from prison and their families. These tips can make a big difference:
- Don’t discard the prison ID. When people are ready to get out of prison, they decide they’re done with prison, and they get rid of their prison ID. That’s not good. They need that ID because that’s going to help them get the necessary IDs they need back in society.
- Families should hold onto important documentation for safekeeping. Whenever they go in, if they give all their records to a family member or a friend to keep for them, that would be great.
- Start the process while incarcerated. If they have family members, they can start the process. Have the family help them with starting to get their IDs.”
- And lastly, be assertive. Sometimes you just need to be assertive to get past the first gate. If the first gate didn’t open for you, push it up the ladder with a supervisor.If you’re interested in making a donation that can help cover the costs of obtaining identification for individuals who are working on re-entry. Please make that donation through PAYPAL