A new program, called Identicards, has been implemented into Washington State’s correctional facilities. Through a partnership between Department of Corrections, Department of Licensing (DOL), and Department of Social and Health Services, incarcerated individuals can receive valid forms of identification prior to release.
Chad Hostetler, a correctional unit supervisor at Cedar Creek Corrections Center, says that the Identicard program is a useful tool for incarcerated individuals who will soon be reentering society.
“Now they can have their ID so they can go apply for a job,” said Hostetler.
Before the program began, counselors would send an incarcerated individual’s information to DOL upon request, but the individual would be required to go to the DOL office after their release to receive their identification card. Now, the Identicards can be received, at no cost to the individual, within two weeks after applying while the individual is still incarcerated.
Kenneth Moore, an incarcerated participant of the program, says he will use his Identicard to apply for a social security card, and hopes to transfer to a work release facility where he can use both cards to look for work. Having the ability to apply for jobs is a key part of reentering the community successfully, he says.
“It’ll be easier to transition into the community,” Moore said.
Programs like Identicards help the department in its mission to improve public safety. Providing the means necessary to increase incarcerated individuals’ chances of finding work after release can help smoothen their reentry into the community and reduce recidivism.
“If the inmate has more tools, they are going to have a better chance to be successful,” Hostetler said. “And I think that’s our goal is to give them the tools to be successful.”