TDOC, TDOSHS Partnership Provides ID Assistance To Inmates

Wednesday, February 24, 2016 | 04:02pm

NASHVILLE - As a part of our ongoing mission of enhancing public safety, the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security (DOSHS) today (2/24/16) launched an innovative program to ensure eligible offenders released from prison have a valid state identification card or driver’s license.

More than 90-percent of offenders will eventually be released back into the community, and lack of valid, government-issued ID is one of the single largest barriers to successful reentry. Without valid ID, it is often impossible for offenders to find employment, housing or other resources, often leading to reoffending and a return to the state prison system, at a cost of $74 per day to Tennessee taxpayers. Ensuring offenders have a valid ID at release increases public safety by removing many of those barriers, helping an offender become a successful, productive member of society. TDOC Commissioner Derrick Schofield and DOSHS Commissioner Bill Gibbons recognized the worth a valid ID can have for an offender, as well as how not having one can cost the State of Tennessee and its taxpayers. With that in mind, TDOC and DOSHS entered into an interagency agreement allowing TDOC to purchase driver’s license issuance equipment and install it in TDOC facilities. This purchase was made using existing TDOC resources, meaning no new taxpayer funding or staffing was needed.

Today, TDOC began processing the very first Tennessee ID applications and driver’s license renewals for eligible offenders nearing release. The partnership with DOSHS will also allow TDOC to track offenders who enter custody with a valid ID or driver’s license, and ensure it does not expire before their release. If an offender’s driver’s license is revoked or suspended, that individual will be issued a state ID card. No original issuance driver’s licenses will be processed in TDOC facilities. Offenders must meet the same requirements for a state ID or driver’s license renewal as the general public.

“This program will be a great tool to help offenders successfully transition back into society and encourage them to change that criminal behavior, which makes our Tennessee communities safer,” says TDOC Commissioner Derrick Schofield.

The Tennessee Department of Correction is committed to fulfilling our mission by operating safe and secure prisons and providing effective community supervision that enhances public safety.