The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) lauded the announcement by Attorney General Loretta Lynch that she will personally request that state governors provide state-issued identification cards to persons returning to their states from federal prisons. Under the Attorney General’s plan, returnees will be able to exchange their federal Bureau of Prison (BOP) identification for a state-issued I.D. BOP identification cards and release papers would serve as supportive documentation for a state-issued identification card.
In January, LDF identified the issuance of state identification cards to returnees as a key reentry issue among a list of policy reforms that it urged the Administration to adopt. LDF’s Deputy Policy Director and Senior Counsel Monique Dixon applauded the Attorney General’s letter to governors, but also urged additional measures. “While this policy change will certainly remove barriers faced by persons leaving prisons who need IDs to obtain employment, housing, and public benefits, LDF will continue to work with BOP administrators to ensure that individuals receive state-issued identification before their release,” Dixon stated. Such a practice “would ensure that returning citizens are not forced to showcase the fact that they are newly-released federal prisoners by presenting BOP-issued IDs to local departments of motor vehicles,” Dixon explained.
LDF further commended the Department of Justice (DOJ) for designating April 24-30, 2016 as National Reentry Week in an effort to recognize and address the many challenges faced by persons seeking to re-enter society after a period of incarceration. DOJ’s newly released Roadmap to ReEntry highlights several changes to the BOP reentry process that LDF and other nonprofit organizations have been advancing for the past year.
LDF and several partner organizations have urged the BOP to expand and update its directory of community-based reentry programs that persons may research prior to and access after their release from prison. LDF will continue to utilize litigation and policy advocacy strategies to clear the path for individuals with criminal records to access employment, housing, and other opportunities.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.