Legislature votes to allow Alaska prisons to issue state IDs

    Sen. Robert Myers, R-North Pole, smiles while talking to another senator on Monday, May 16, 2022, in the Alaska Senate chamber in Juneau. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

    Juneau, Alaska (Alaska Beacon) - The state’s prison system can now issue state IDs to prisoners who don’t have one. A newly passed bill is intended to ease prisoners’ reentry into society after incarceration.

    The House passed Senate Bill 119 on Saturday with a unanimous vote. The Senate passed it last week.

    Valid ID is required for everything from getting a job and housing to opening a bank account, buying a phone, or enrolling in Medicaid and Social Security. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Robert Myers, R-North Pole, said the inability to access basic services or find housing can lead to further crimes, which is a threat to public safety and a potential expense for the state if individuals must return to prison.

    “Reentry is an essential part of public safety,” wrote Sen. Myers in a statement. “Ensuring reentrants are supported during their transitional period helps improve community well-being and public safety.”

    There is no anticipated expense to the state as a result of the new law. The bill is headed to the governor’s desk for a signature.

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