- Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
- Massachusetts Department of Transportation
- Massachusetts Department of Correction
- Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles
Media Contact for Healey-Driscoll Administration Announces Enhanced State ID Program for Returning Citizens
Elaine Driscoll, Director of Communications and Policy
Boston — Yesterday, in a roundtable discussion with stakeholders, the Healey-Driscoll Administration announced a newly enhanced and streamlined process to provide individuals with a government-issued photo identification card upon release from the Massachusetts Department of Correction (DOC). As an essential tool for successful community reintegration, the Massachusetts ID Card Program empowers returning citizens by removing barriers to critical reentry services following incarceration.
The streamlined process for reentrants to obtain official state identification is part of the Healey-Driscoll Administration’s overarching commitment successfully reintegrating individuals returning to the community after incarceration. The Administration’s Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) Budget invests approximately $10 million in educational opportunities and reentry programs. Investments include $1 million for green career training jobs and $50,000 to provide 90-day cell phone coverage for up to 200 individuals participating in the Credible Messenger Program.
“An official state identification card is a crucial lifeline for those reentering communities, as it reduces barriers to obtaining secure housing, finding a job, and accessing vital benefits,” said Governor Maura Healey. “This compassionate and common-sense program positions our state’s returning citizens to accomplish an essential first step on their path toward stability, successful reintegration, and long-term healthy contribution to community.”
“Our Administration is committed to helping returning citizens attain sustainable, positive outcomes by reducing the challenges that people reentering society after incarceration often face. Possessing a state ID is crucial to establishing stability through gainful employment, housing, and education,” said Lt. Governor Kimberley Driscoll. “I am proud of the interagency and stakeholder collaboration that brought this important initiative to fruition.”
Under the leadership of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, DOC and the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding establishing a streamlined process for individuals within six months of release to obtain a government-issued photo identification card. The newly improved process allows DOC to transmit the application, relevant documents, standardized photo, and signature to the RMV electronically through a secure file transfer system. The RMV then processes the information and forwards the ID Card to DOC officials, who provide it to the returning citizen upon release.
“From opening a bank account to applying for a job, possessing a valid state ID immediately upon release from custody is fundamental to successful outcomes for returning citizens. The lack of an ID blocks access to life’s necessities and presents hurdles to reaching the help and services available to those in need,” said Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy. “I applaud the commitment and participation of all who made this improved program possible.”
“This program provides a convenient, accessible and streamlined process through which returning citizens are given tools and resources to support their efforts to successfully reintegrate into their communities, new employment opportunities, and other areas of their lives,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Gina Fiandaca. “MassDOT has been pleased to partner and work collaboratively with its state partners and stakeholders to identify and make key enhancements to the program that provides this critical first step of navigating getting back into society.”
“Valid state identification is instrumental to an individual’s ability to put their best foot forward upon return to the community. The streamlined process established through this collaboration will provide returning residents with a basic necessity, symbolic of hope and possibility. The ID represents a key to open doors instead of a hurdle that blocks the path,” said Undersecretary for Criminal Justice Andrew Peck.
“The Registry of Motor Vehicles is pleased to offer this important service to support individuals who are taking steps to reintegrate into society,” said Registrar of Motor Vehicles Colleen Ogilvie. “The timely processing of standard Massachusetts identification cards will help make it more efficient for these individuals to seek employment and other services as they build their new life.”
As part of the State ID application process, individuals must submit a proof of identity document, most commonly a birth certificate. In cases where an acceptable document is unavailable – often because of incomplete information – the MOU allows DOC to produce an alternative attestation of identity document. These measures ensure equitable access to the process for all returning citizens.
“Equipping returning individuals with every possible tool to succeed upon reentry is part of our mission,” said DOC Commissioner Carol Mici. “Providing IDs to releasing incarcerated individuals is a necessary tool to help those returning to the community reenter and move forward with their lives.”
"Providing incarcerated persons with a state ID upon release is a critical step in their successful reintegration into society," says Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Marlborough), who has been championing the cause for the past 10 years. "I began this common-sense effort after learning of the work by my Acton constituent, Dot Werst, to provide free IDs to homeless individuals, many of whom were returning citizens. Today, I am proud that an agreement has been reached between the RMV and the DOC, ensuring that each individual leaving a state prison now has access to a government-issued photo identification card, without any cost. I am grateful to Secretary Reidy, Undersecretary Peck, Commissioner Mici and Registrar Ogilvie for their efforts to move this initiative forward. For all Massachusetts residents, having an ID is necessary to apply for a job, rent an apartment, and more. This is a key example of how the Healey-Driscoll administration is committed to ensuring that all residents thrive in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."
“I am thrilled that the Healey-Driscoll administration is prioritizing this initiative to set our neighbors up for success as they re-enter our communities,” said Representative Brandy Fluker Oakley (D-Mattapan). "I’ve heard so many stories of people trying to open a bank account, to securing employment, or even entering a sober home that required a state ID Those of us with identification take for granted all the benefits and privileges that an ID provides us. I am glad that we will now be providing this essential necessity before reentry, and I hope we can consider this for our entire correctional system."
“Rehabilitation starts on the first day of one’s time to be served, and the most important part of that process is to ensure a successful Reentry upon release. In order to give someone a second chance, it is essential that there are minimal barriers to prevent folks from getting a second chance - having an ID from the RMV prevents difficulties in accessing essential needs such as housing and for health care,” said Representative Chynah Tyler (D-7th District). “I'd like to thank the Healey-Driscoll Administration for recognizing and acting quickly to this issue because we can now say we're much closer to offering easier access to a REAL second chances after time served."
"As a returning citizen and a provider of services to newly released women and men coming out now, I see on a daily basis the urgency of having a State ID or driver’s license. When I pick up an individual on their release from prison, the RMV is often the 1st stop,” said Jamal Gooding, Greater Boston Interfaith Organization member and PACC Global Executive Director. “This agreement to facilitate ID issuance BEFORE release takes us an important step forward to eliminating recidivism that will make the Commonwealth safer for all citizens."