Monday, February 24, 2020

House Committee passes bill requiring issuance of valid state IDs to inmates upon release


Committee Advances Bill Requiring DOC, DPS to Issue Valid State IDs for Inmates Upon Release

OKLAHOMA CITY – The House Public Safety Committee advanced legislation Thursday to require the Dept. of Corrections and Dept. of Public Safety to coordinate to issue valid state identification to inmates upon their release.

House Bill 1310 by Rep. Marilyn Stark (R-Bethany) would create the “Inmate ID Act of 2020.” The act would require the Oklahoma Dept. of Corrections to coordinate with the Dept. of Public Safety to provide REAL ID Noncompliant Identification Cards to all offenders who don’t have a state-issued ID prior to their release.

“The Legislature has taken important steps to aid criminal justice reform, but the changes implemented over the last few years won’t be as effective without focusing on our recidivism rate as well,” Stark said. “A lack of state ID contributes to the struggles our state’s former inmates face upon release. One of the biggest hindrances when a person is released is employment, and they need a state ID to find a job. Without a state ID, they can’t even visit a food bank.”

The Dept. of Corrections would identify inmates expected to leave custody within the next nine months and begin the process of gathering the documentation required to issue a REAL ID Noncompliant Identification Card. The ID cards would be valid for four years from the month of issuance; however, IDs issued to an inmate aged 65 or older would be valid indefinitely from the month of issuance.

The bill also stipulates that if no other form of identification is available, DPS must allow the use of a DOC-issued consolidated record card to serve as a valid identification to obtain a REAL ID Noncompliant Identification Card. Any ID issued through this process would be valid for two years from the month of issuance and would be nonrenewable.

“Inmates can easily lose track of their personal belongings while they’re imprisoned, and sometimes they need a little time after release to track down their birth certificates and other government-issued forms of identification,” Stark said. “However, the state has already identified each person in the system, so a two-year ID would go a long way toward helping an inmate after their release until they can find their original identification documents.”

Under HB1310, if an inmate needing a state-issued ID has been convicted of any offense required to register under the Sex Offenders Registration Act, their ID will be valid for one year from the month of issuance and must be renewed annually during the time they are on the Sex Offender Registry.

Although HB1310 was filed in 2019, Stark held an interim study over state IDs for inmates upon their release in November to learn more about the topic before filing language this session.

HB1310 passed the House Public Safety Committee 13-0. It is now available to be considered on the House floor.

Rep. Marilyn Stark, a Republican, serves District 100 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Her district includes portions of Bethany, Oklahoma City and Warr Acres.

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