RALEIGH - Eligible North Carolina offenders can now receive a state ID card when they’re released from prison.
The N.C. Department of Adult Correction has entered a partnership with the state Division of Motor Vehicles to provide a state-issued photo identification card to offenders due for release. Lack of official identification is a problem for many offenders when they re-enter their communities.
“ID cards are one of most important tools that people need to succeed when they leave prison,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “This partnership is critical to reducing recidivism and increasing the safety and vibrancy of our families and communities.”
Secretary of Adult Correction Todd Ishee said lack of a government-issued ID prevents those who leave prison from obtaining necessities.
“Having a valid a state ID provides offenders with access to employment, housing and benefits, including social services, medical care and education,” Ishee said. “This collaboration is knocking down an obstacle for former offenders trying to make a new start after incarceration.”
DAC sends a weekly list to DMV of offenders who express interest in the new card and who meet eligibility requirements. DMV checks the eligibility of each applicant and, if approved, provides the photo ID to be placed among the offender's ransitional materials.
“I’m proud of the collaboration between our two state agencies,” said DMV Commissioner Wayne Goodwin. “By providing these state ID cards, we are helping to set up these folks for success upon release.”
The new state ID cards are optional, and they are not a driver’s license. Prison case managers will explain to interested offenders that the new ID will invalidate any previous driver’s license or other state ID that the offender may have.
Offenders who do not choose to apply for the new ID, or who are not eligible under this program, can still visit a DMV office after release to apply for a driver’s license or state ID card.
Eligibility requirements for the new card include:
- age 17 or older
- within 120 days of release
- incarceration less than eight years
- legal resident of North Carolina at least 12 months prior to incarceration
- verified residence in North Carolina
- DMV record prior to incarceration
- not a “safekeeper” — an offender in state prison custody at the request of a county jail, usually for medical, behavioral or security reasons.
George Pettigrew, DAC deputy secretary for rehabilitation and re-entry, said the multi-agency initiative is a reflection of the department’s mission.
“As a correctional agency, we aspire to correct the behaviors and the mindset that brought someone to prison,” Pettigrew said. “We want to provide all the tools needed for offenders to be successful after release. An official state ID will be a useful and valuable tool.”