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The Office of Public Service within University Outreach was granted $60,000 from the Financial Health Network’s Financial Solutions Lab to lead a system mapping and pilot program to secure government-issued identifications for individuals who are incarcerated and committed youth in accordance with Alabama legislation Act 2021-549. The project is led by Hollie Cost, assistant vice president of the Office of Public Service and University Outreach and Master of Public Administration and Master of Community Planning graduate student, Tori Ho.

Prior to the start of the system mapping and pilot, project leaders researched all 50 states and their current processes to obtain government-issued identifications for individuals who are incarcerated. In collaboration with the David Mathews Center for Civic Life, project leaders convened key stakeholders and state agencies including Alabama Department of Corrections, or ADOC, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, or ALEA, Alabama Department of Youth Services, or ADYS, Shelby County Sheriff’s Office-county jail, or SCSO, and Alabama Department of Public Health, or ADPH,vital statistics to map the current process of obtaining government-issued identifications. During each convening, state agencies shared perspectives regarding their current roles in the process. Additionally, formerly incarcerated individuals and community-based service providers shared their experiences and challenges they have faced regarding securing government-issued identification cards. Perspectives and feedback shared was used to create an improved pathway to secure government-issued identifications for individuals upon release. The pathway will be implemented during the pilot program beginning April 5.

During the pilot, agencies will obtain the minimum required documentation necessary for each participating individual to obtain an Alabama state nondrivers identification. ADOC, ADYS and SCSO have each identified 10 individuals to participate in the pilot. At the conclusion of the pilot, participants will have received a certified copy of birth record, replacement social security number card and state nondrivers identification. These identifying documents eliminate existing barriers, resulting in equitable access to public services, employment applications, housing applications, banking institutions and financial resources.

Upon project completion, the results of this pilot will be shared nationally for replication as applicable.