by Scott McClallen


The Michigan Department of State (MDOS) has provided more than 5,000 state identification cards and driver’s licenses to parolees through its joint initiative with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC).

The program offers newly paroled Michiganders a driver’s license or state ID has boosted these transactions by more than 10 times the prior amount.

“By providing identification to returning citizens, we are opening doors that enable them to re-enter the work force and their communities,” Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said in a statement. “Our partnership with MDOC provides a valuable resource to formerly incarcerated individuals, ensuring they have the credentials they need to succeed.”

The program aims to set up returning Michiganders with the essentials to join the workforce and their new community. Announced in June 2020, the program assists individuals designated for parole to get required documents, paperwork, and photos and forwards them directly to MDOS. Once an individual is paroled, they are provided their license or ID, given information on re-entering the workforce, and are registered to vote unless they decline.

“Ensuring returning citizens have their vital documents upon release is an essential part of their successful return to society,” MDOC Director Heidi E. Washington said in a statement. “We are pleased with the success of this program, and know that it is having a real and profound effect on these individuals as they embark on the next chapter in their lives.”

While some parolees may refuse or do not have the necessary personal information to process an ID, the collaboration has resulted in 95% of parolees in October 2021 receiving an ID or driver’s license. Both departments expect to maintain this rate moving forward.

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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on and Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “US Highway 23 South of Ann Arbor, Michigan” by Ken Lund. CC BY-SA 2.0.