Sheriff Dart, Illinois Secretary of State Giannoulias Partner to Provide State ID Cards to Individuals Leaving Cook County Jail

Dec 11, 2023Press Release

COOK COUNTY, IL –Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart and Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias announced today a partnership to provide State Identification Cards for individuals leaving Cook County Jail.
The partnership is the first of its kind for a county jail.

Government issued IDs are critical for enrolling in educational programs, onboarding for jobs as well as obtaining housing and government benefits. Individuals in custody may have lost their ID cards or they may have expired while in custody, and they may face challenges in attempting to renew them after returning to the community.

“We know that people who have a safe place to live, are receiving services they need, and are employed are less likely to reoffend,” Sheriff Dart said. “Having a government-issued ID is the first step to obtaining those things. So, this initiative not only helps people with their individual needs but also helps public safety.”

The program is initially working with individuals who either have previously applied for a State ID card or driver’s license, or have access to documents, such as birth certificates and social security cards, to apply for the first time. The program will gradually expand to provide IDs to everyone in Cook County Jail custody.

“Providing individuals who have completed their sentences with essential resources and tools upon their release increases their chances to successfully re-enter society, become self-sufficient and rebuild their lives,” Secretary Giannoulias said. “A valid state ID will help them with basic needs like locating housing, securing a job, opening a bank account, enrolling in assistance programs, and attaining reliable transportation. Fulfilling these basic needs reduces recidivism, saves taxpayer money, and makes our communities stronger.”

Sheriff’s Office staff will work with the interested participants to complete the application forms and take photographs. If necessary, Sheriff’s Office staff can also help first-time applicants with accessing vital documents they already have such as birth certificates or social security cards.

The collected information will be sent electronically via a secure transfer to the Secretary of State’s Office. After the Secretary of State’s Office staff determines applicants have met the requirements for an ID card, they will be mailed to their residences.

Prior to the partnership with the Secretary of State’s Office, Cook County Jail worked with the Chicago City Clerk’s Office to provide municipal ID cards for individuals in custody who were Chicago residents.
The Secretary of State’s Office launched a similar program in 2021 for returning residents released from Illinois Department of Corrections custody, issuing more than 2,100 ID cards to program participants to date.