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State-issued ID cards to be given to inmates leaving Cook County jail

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(The Center Square) – Individuals leaving Cook County jail will be given state-issued identification cards under a new program Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias announced Monday.

The program will offer state ID cards for those who are finishing up their sentence in Cook County jail with the aim to help those who have recently been released with job searches, opening bank accounts and buying a home or car.

Giannoulias said Monday the the program will help recently released people get a start on reentering society.

“For those who have been incarcerated, access to a home, a job and a doctor, is commonly impeded by unfair barriers,” Giannoulias said. “Each is crucial for a successful reentry back into society, and that access starts with a small but significant item that many of us take for granted, the state-issued identification card.”

The program will start in Cook County.

“This is more of a game changer than people realize,” Sheriff Tom Dart said. “This is going to impact … tens of thousands of people at our place every year, at our place, and our hope is that this will go well beyond that.”

Giannoulias said the program can help these individuals stay out of prison.

“America must offer meaningful opportunities for redemption and rehabilitation to empower those who have been incarcerated to become productive law-abiding members of society, reducing crime and making our communities safer,” Giannoulias said.

Giannoulias hopes to expand the program statewide in the coming years.

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