Governor signs bill helping newly released prisoners get state-issued ID


On Saturday, Gov. Mike Dunleavy signed into law Senate Bill 119State Identification Card for Prisoners, which unanimously passed the Alaska Legislature in the final days of the 2023 regular session.

SB 119 provides easier access to identification cards for reentrants upon release, granting them an important tool for re-entry.

SB 119 grants the Department of Corrections statutory authority to issue state IDs to anyone leaving their custody who does not have an ID in their possession.

The bill received support from the Department of Corrections under the leadership of Commissioner Jen Winkelman and was carried by a bipartisan team from both chambers. 

Sen. Robert Myers speaks during the signing ceremony for SB 119, with Rep. Andrew Gray, cosponsor of the legislation, appearing to have a bird on his shoulder. (It’s a metal sculpture behind him, and in the photo at the top, the bird’s wings can be seen around Sen. Scott Kawasaki’s head).

“In order to find housing, in order to find work, in order to open a bank account, a photo ID is required,” said Rep. Andrew Gray (D-Anchorage) who sponsored the House version of the bill. “I hope this legislation enables folks re-entering society to accomplish these basic tasks and avoid homelessness and recidivism.”

Sen. Robert Myers (R-North Pole), who sponsored Senate Bill 119 said, “Reentry is an essential part of public safety. Ensuring reentrants are supported during their transitional period helps improve community well-being and public safety. By providing reentrants with a valid form of identification upon their release we also provide the individual with an essential tool for basic life.”


  1. Ironic how these political acting clowns make a big deal like they “did” something over and beyond, for those released from the prison, when having an ID is a necessary state mandated document to participate in virtually anything. Couldn’t even live out camp permanently, trapping, fishing and hunting, without an ID to obtain a state license.
    What the DOC could do that is useful for inmates and the general public, if they were in the least interested in corrections, is to allow inmates to pursue college degrees through correspondence. Endless domestic violence and addiction courses are one thing, but earning an actual degree, or even several, while serving time would be conductive for the individual to reintegrate successfully. How many inmates would do it and follow through? It is irrelevant, as any and each individual who recovers from addictions, who serves in prison but then moves on, who recovers from homelessness is important. These people who make it are rare, but if your son or daughter is one of them you would understand the importance.
    There is no cost to facilitate an education, the inmate must obtain grants, scholarships through their corporations and other sources, and the inmate must follow through on their own. The fact is the DOC makes it virtually impossible for an inmate to do this. We have no leadership in this state, just platitude mumbling incompetents taking lobbyist perks and monies.

    • Except the public will have to pay for their correspondence courses toward a n occupation. I get you where you coming from, if one will be sitting on their butt for four to ten years he may as well be learning how to study. But The state of Alaska doesn’t have the money from what I am understanding of what I am reading We are running a deficit. There are ways an ex-con also who is redeemed by Christ who has no id and no income can get cash to get a 25 dollar id. The redeemed man and woman could go door to door in a neighborhood once free asking every home owner or tenant if they have any odd jobs they need help with for cash. There are homeowners who have the equipment to mow their own grass however may not be looking forward to the job and putting it off until that person comes up to the door offering labor for cash. Mowing someone’s lawn could give them the total amount of an id so they can start applying for work. Then the Hope Center and I will guess the Gospel Mission lets their address be used for those needing an address for job applications. The real life change starts with Christ.

    • DOC officials and staff cannot force inmates to program, and there are endless opportunities for inmates to program, but they cannot be forced to engage in anything offered. There are a broad spectrum of courses offered which would give someone a step up in obtaining meaningful work upon release. With respect to the ID, it was already a common practice for DOC to release an inmate with an ID or a free voucher to get an ID from the DMV. However, many are rearrested quickly or lose the paperwork to get an ID.

  2. Who cares about this nothingburger piece of legislation.
    When did Scott Kawasaki’s mother finally let him grow horns?

  3. The means to obtain ID already existed. Released inmates would ask DOC for an “identity sheet”, which they would take to DMV and be issued an ID. So what changed to necessitate this legislation? Additionally, will this new DOC-issued ID be different from a DMV-issued ID and therefore amount to a “scarlet letter”? I bring up these concerns because I realize that PR word salad won’t touch them.

  4. Make them pay for it. Give them a free I.d and they just lose it. Again and again. It’s tiring living in the state of Alaska where the leadership are humanists.

  5. Stealing their liberty by no means provides a finishing school for natives. Unless natives are imprisoned and emotionally destroyed white people can’t bear to be around them. Alaska Is completely spiritually ill and can never improve spiritually. Alaska is spiritual Crete, the worst, most racist state in the union.

  6. Ex cons are helpless babies that need special hand holding to get an I.D.?
    Alaska’s priorities have just scraped the bottom of an outhouse pit.

  7. But… wait… I thought it was impossible to get an ID if you did not have one. At least, that is what the election fraud advocates say…

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