New Law Allows Illinois Prisoners To Get Free Copies Of Birth Certificates

Aug 10, 2017

Credit Flickr user Tim (Timothy) Pearce / "Prison cell with bed inside Alcatraz main building san francisco california" (CC BY 2.0)

A new law will allow people leaving Illinois prisons to get a copy of their birth certificate for free.

The measure is meant to make it easier for former prisoners to get a state ID, which is necessary to apply for jobs and housing. Former inmate David Ikonomopoulos says his driver’s license never made it from the police department that arrested him to the state prison where he served his sentence.

"So when you get out, where do you go back to get that information you had once upon a time?," he asked. "And it becomes real hard because you’re helpless, hopeless, homeless. You don’t exist in the world."

Ikonomopoulos  spoke at an event yesterday where Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the bill into law. Rauner says it will help reduce the number of former inmates who end up back in prison.