As Kentucky seeks to make positive reforms to its criminal justice system and reduce recidivism, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Kentucky Department of Corrections, Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet have partnered to provide valid forms of identification for Kentuckians as they are released from incarceration.
Research shows that the first few weeks after release are critical to successful re-entry and preventing recidivism. It is vital to make this transition as smooth as possible, and a large missing element is the access to identification. Identification is essential to securing employment, housing, transportation, and other basic needs. Without identification – formerly incarcerated individuals are unable to transition into communities in positive ways effectively. To reenter the workforce, the program stresses the importance of Kentucky’s returning citizens having a valid form of identification, instead of their release sheet with a mug shot.
Currently, Kentucky law does not require any agency to provide a state identification card or driver’s license for Kentuckians being released from prison. The goal of the pilot program is for every inmate to leave Kentucky Department of Corrections ready to enter the workforce with the necessary resources including, identification card, social security card, and birth certificate. The Kentucky Chamber Foundation has provided funding to help cover the costs of the state IDs, and more than 340 IDs have been issued since the start of the pilot program in February.
This program is one of many initiatives led by Kentucky Chamber and Kentucky Chamber Foundation to help provide second chances to Kentuckians coming out of incarceration and recovering from substance use disorder.
“The Kentucky Chamber is proud to partner with the Kentucky Department of Corrections, Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to help provide a real second chance for those reentering our communities and ensure a shot a meaningful employment, which we know is key to reducing recidivism,” said Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Ashli Watts.