BOISE, Idaho — Several of Idaho Department of Correction's prisons will now issue state identification cards to newly released inmates.
State prisons in Boise, Pocatello, and Orofino have installed the new photo ID systems, and officials hope the remaining state prison facilities will be online by the Fall of 2019.
Jodi Peterson, Executive Director of Boise's Interfaith Sanctuary, tells us why she believes it will impact homelessness and Idaho's economy at large.
"Many of us take for granted that we can obtain photo identification, but for hundreds of people throughout Idaho, it’s a real challenge with real consequences."
Following a six month-long odyssey to obtain a photo ID for a homeless former inmate who was offered a job but lacked proper identification, Peterson says she feels this will make it easier for formerly incarcerated individuals to secure employment, obtain vital documents like birth certificates or social security numbers, and otherwise participate in a society that requires photo identification for any number of functions.
“Here we had a man who wanted to work and get his life back on track, but because he lacked a photo ID he couldn’t. It was the most ridiculous thing you could imagine,” Peterson said.
Representative Melissa Wintrow, (D) House, was also instrumental in forming a working group to tackle this issue, which included officials from the Idaho Department of Corrections, Department of Motor Vehicles, and the Idaho Transportation Department.
“Honestly, if you think for a minute about how many things we do in our everyday lives that require photo ID, it’s almost impossible to function without one,” Wintrow said. “This is a low-cost and logical step we can take to reduce recidivism, integrate people who have paid their debt back into society, and increase public safety," said Representative Wintrow.