Core Civic Private Prisons are not issuing state-issued IDs to released inmates. And, it is an enormous problem for both the ex-cons and the prison loved ones waiting to start lives with them at home.
You have a loved one serving a prison sentence in Tennessee. Your family or friend has served out the prison sentence and is scheduled for release. But, there is a serious problem.
They have no state-issued IDs. This drastically impacts the ex-prisoner’s ability to obtain a job after being released.
State-Issued IDs are a Necessity Upon Release from Prison
Not having state-issued IDs may make it pretty hard for ex-prisoners to secure various accommodations after their release, such as housing. But, the State of Tennessee is not willing to intervene.
What then can you or your loved one do after they are released?
There is however a seeming contradiction. The Commissioner for the Department of Corrections in Tennessee has ordered all prison facilities in the state to issue valid drivers licenses or some form of state-issued IDs to all inmates before inmates are released.
Tennessee’s s tate-owned prisons adhere to this instruction already. But, Core Civic’s private prisons refuse to obey.
Core Civic Private Prisons Refuse to Provide Released Inmates with State-Issued IDs
How This Problem Affects Your Loved Ones When They Get Released Into the Society
You have enough reasons to be worried if your loved one is to be released from a private prison in Tennessee without any valid state identification or driver’s license:
- They can’t obtain any meaningful jobs or get decent housing without government IDs
- They could be arrested in the streets, as it is literally illegal for an adult to be out in public without valid ID
- It may be equally difficult for released prisoners to access food stamps and free bus tickets, among other public service assistance
The reason is… a state-issued ID and/or valid driver’s license and a social security card are all required to access these public services. And, without valid ID, it’s almost impossible to get a social security card, which is almost impossible to obtain without valid ID.
This puts released prisoners and the loved ones waiting to start new lives with them at home in serious Catch 22 situations.
State-Issued IDs Help Ex-Inmates Re-Enter Society
Early 2016, Commissioner Tony Parker dispatched a letter to the Tennessee Department of Correction asking that no other inmate be released without valid, state-issued IDs. Commissioner Parker said this would aid former inmates to re-enter the society successfully.
But private prisons in the state have taken an exception to this order. They are not too forthcoming in their reasons.
If you are angry with Core Civic over this refusal, you have a right to be. This is essentially because the Tennessee government pays millions of taxpayers’ money to the organization to manage private jails. The South Central Correctional Facility is one of the private prisons the organization manages in the state.
Core Civic Private Prisons: The Memo Does Not Apply To All Inmates… Only Qualified Inmates
Prison loved ones aren’t the only ones annoyed by this double-standard. Tennessee State Sen. Jeff Yarbro is equally worried over the development.
Yarbro insists the state needs to review its agreement with Core Civic and re-write contradictory parts:
“I think there’s a real danger of creating a two-tier system where we have one set of prisons operated by the state that adheres to one set of standards and another set of prisons operated by a private operation that adheres to a different set of standards,” Sen. Yarbro said.
The Tennessee Department of Correction has not helped matters in this regard. According to them, the state order does not apply to all inmates but only to select inmates:
“The policy states (in Section III) that the driver’s license and ID program applies to eligible offenders of TDOC sites,” the state averred. “Very few states provide inmates with IDs upon release from incarceration and we are proud to be on the forefront. We are actively looking to see how it can be expanded to Core Civic sites.”
This is just one more issue that prevents inmates from smoothly transitioning through the prison to job pipeline.