Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy signed a bill to support Alaskans leaving prison and reentering society, News From The States reports. The law allows the state’s Department of Corrections to issue state IDs to prisoners who do not have valid identification when they exit the carceral system. The bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Robert Myers, had bipartisan support. “Reentry is an essential part of public safety,” Myers said. “Ensuring reentrants are supported during their transitional period helps improve community well-being and public safety. By providing reentrants with a valid form of identification upon their release we also provide the individual with an essential tool for basic life.”
Democratic Rep. Andrew Gray, who sponsored the House version of the bill, said that a photo ID is necessary to find housing and work or open a bank account. Department of Corrections Commissioner Jen Winkelman supported the policy. “If we are able to provide this tool for those leaving our custody, we are less likely to see them reoffend,” wrote DOC spokesperson Betsy Holley. The law will go into effect Jan. 1. Holley said the state doesn’t anticipate any increased expense under the law.