JUNEAU — The Alaska Legislature passed a bill Saturday that requires the Department of Corrections to provide photo IDs for people leaving prison who don’t have them.
Senate Bill 119 was introduced by Sen. Robb Myers, R-North Pole. He said the measure was needed because some people who leave state custody without identification cards struggle to find jobs, open bank accounts or register to vote.
Currently, the Department of Corrections gives prisoners a document that they can then take to the Division of Motor Vehicles to obtain a driver’s license or photo ID. SB 119 removes that step, and allows the agency to directly provide an identification card that would be valid for six months.
Rep. Andrew Gray, an Anchorage Democrat, sponsored the bill in the House and said it was created in collaboration with the corrections department. He said the inability to find housing, employment and medications are significant factors whether a person is likely to reoffend, adding, “Photo IDs are something we take for granted until we don’t have one.”
SB 119 passed unanimously through the House and Senate, and will now head to Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s desk for his consideration. The Department of Corrections estimated that the new photo IDs would not incur costs for the agency.