Public Comments for 01/19/2023 Public Safety - Subcommittee #2
HB1501 - Law-enforcement civilian oversight bodies; requirements of members.
We are writing in OPPOSITION to this poison pill bill. HB 1501 would weaken Constitutional protections afforded citizens against government agents, like the police. The argument that numbers of police is better than quality of officers is specious at best. Oversight is absolutely essential, and the police chief cannot do it alone. 1). It is the DUTY of all citizens to oversee and regulate the police, a task which has been wrongly abdicated to the courts. ( see book by Barry Friedman, Unwarranted. Policing without Permission. (2017)) 2). Stripping away from citizens the ability to compel the police to perform at their finest and to respect certain disciplinary standards is anti-democratic, anti-individual rights, and contrary to (Constitutional) law -- all principles Republicans allegedly value. 3). Placing citizens appointed to such boards in the positon to be forced to accompany police officers (of heir choice?) in ride-alongs or to have a former cop on the board certainly SOUNDS like good policy. But more than likely, it will be used to unduly influence independent and objective board members. Solution: Require board members to have training in police methods and standards the police themselves have as policy. Such citizen boards will be then in position to compare policy with practice. In summary, too often we see police behaving badly. Too often, they get away with it. Confidence in police and in policing is lessened, police feel discouraged and quit, poorer quality officers are hired, and the cycle continues, only now far worse. Civilian Review Boards must be encouraged and maintained, as long as they are ethical, moral, and fair. Norman M. Achin Woodbridge, Va Tammie Lawson, Independence, Va
HB1646 - Court duties of sheriff; commitment hearings at locations other than a courthouse.
HB1719 - Virginia Fusion Intelligence Center; release or dissemination of information.
HB1859 - Applicant Fingerprint Database; participation in FBI Next Generation Identification Rap Back Serv.
HB2039 - Correctional facilities, local; fees, report.
HB2249 - Prisoners; Department of Corrections-issued and jailer-issued identification.
Sam, this is Stephanie R. Clark- I support this Bill, it is necessary for our program, It will support, our clients and make it easier for them to get back to work. Thank you.
It's simple. I support this bill because it can only help returning citizens for the benefit of leading productive lives.
Without a doubt, having an Id is a major challenge for our returning citizens, As a Employment Specialist I am confronted with this issue on a daily basis. Now from what I understand, the State pulls monies from the inmate account to pay the costs of birth certificates and Id cards. Why they are not being processed in a timely manner is a question for whoever is doing the processing, for some facilities do not seem to have an issue with this process. Thank you for your consideration in this matter. It will make a difference.
Clients who are reentering back into society from jail need ID cards to do most anything. They will need an id card to get a hotel room, obtain employment, request a copy of social security card, get benefits through social services, and to enter treatment programs. Reentry is all about eliminating barriers and not having an ID when they leave incarceration is a significant barrier. I am in full support of bill 2249. Thank you for your consideration. Best Regards, Hal Diggs 757-564-2312
It is essential to ensure that people being released from carceral facilities are provided the proper documentation to reintegrate back into society. A jail issued identification band is akin to carrying slave papers. We know that it is the law to have a photo identification and it is necessary to obtaining most things in life. Please pass this important piece of legislation to ensure that people have what they need to be successful upon reintegration to society. During Covid, DMV stopped going into DOC facilities and access to appointments were pushed out for months at a time. Transportation to DMV locations was difficult to come by for someone who did not have a driver's license and people were not able to access their basic needs. Our organization has paid the cost for years for individuals returning to our Commonwealth with just their jail or DOC-issued IDs. That is not acceptable when they need to apply for services, stay in hotels when there are no housing options available, apply for jobs and housing, obtain medical supplies, be seen for medical care, enter schools or college campuses, open bank accounts, or simply walk the streets . Not having proper identification can lead to unnecessary police contact and even illegal and unwarranted search and seizure, which in turn, can come with court costs or technical violations that a newly released person cannot afford. This is a small gesture that can change lives. Please pass this legislation.
Although food, clothing, shelter, and employment are important to life outside of incarceration, rarely are housing and employment possible for a returning citizen without a state-issued ID. More often than not, successfully obtaining gainful employment is the key to a successful re-entry. VA CARES staff prioritize the pursuit of ID when assisting clients and are often frustrated by the process and in some cases, are out of funds to provide a client for obtaining the much needed ID, particularly near the end of the fiscal year. The reasons for frustration are varied but are often found in the requirements of needing identification documents such as a birth certificate or social security card. Often, these required documents have been lost or misplaced prior to incarceration, however, in some cases, these documents have been mailed to the incarcerated individual’s institutional case manager, only to be lost or misplaced in the process. When this happens, the returning citizen goes from only needing a drivers license or state-ID to now needing further required documents, all of which create additional costs and delays for someone already struggling to provide for themselves or their families. As a returning citizen myself, I’ve experienced this scenario firsthand. While serving a 24-month federal prison sentence, I witnessed many men go through the frustration of being released without identification or knowing their loved ones mailed the identification into the institution, only to be told they were never received. This problem is further compounded by institutions issuing a prisoner ID which is not recognized by state or federal ID-issuing agencies. That’s the human element of the issue at hand. Now to the fiscal burden. Last year, $5,062 of VA CARES client services funds, were spent on state-issued ID for Virginia’s returning citizens, and an additional $5,782 were spent on obtaining birth certificates for these individuals. These funds, provided by grants from the Department of Criminal Justice Services, can be better used on other needs for Virginia’s returning citizens and can be, should this legislation be successfully passed. In closing, I urge you to pass HB 2249, as this legislation is critical to the first steps a returning citizen takes in their re-entry journey. If incarceration is about rehabilitation of the individual so they can again be accepted back into society and be productive members of the community, we need to remove the barriers and obstacles that prevent or severely delay an ex-offender from successfully returning a citizen. Thank you for your time and consideration.
I can only imagine being a returning citizen and being released to an area that you are not from, And not having an ID or the proper documentation to get one. In this day and age it is imperative and vital to everyday living to have certain things in order to survive. A job, food, clothing, housing, good health care are some to name a few. And with each of those you need an ID to receive them all. The barriers that a returning citizen has to go through in order for this to happen has come to a road block or even a BRICK WALL. Catch 22 has becoming the norm for some when it comes to this process. You cant get an Id if you don't have a social security card and you cant get a social security card without an ID or birth certificate. And if you only have one or the other you cant get an ID. So this Bill needs to be taken seriously in order for the average person to survive....and the fact that we are talking about returning citizens is a topic that also is even regulated for those that are not. So let's get this done! VOTE Yes for HB2249
I work in re-entry programming and frequently see the delay that lack of identification causes for returning citizens. When returning citizens don't have the opportunity to get IDs while incarcerated, obtaining IDs alone requires visits to more than one building, arranging transportation (including to DMV which is off the bus line), and funds for both birth certificate and ID. This takes time and significantly delays the progress that an individual can make in gaining employment, housing, benefits and other services. Passage of this bill would assist with quicker avenues to success for returning citizens, non-profit dollars freed up for use on other supportive services (employment supplies, housing assistance, etc.), and increase in hope and motivation for those returning to society and workforce.
First off, I would like to think Del. Rasoul for sponsoring this bill! As someone who works in the reentry arena, I see or hear on a day-to-day basis how difficult and challenging it is to obtain an official identification card! Returning citizens are at a huge disadvantage in attempting a successful transition without the ability to obtain an identification card. There are so many things in life that requires proper identification........ obtaining employment, acquiring housing, continuing education and the list can go on and on! I truly feel that if we as a society are to request, in some cases demands, that returning citizen is held at the highest standard, I just as aggressively feel that we ought to have the courage and the fortitude to offer them all the necessary services that they need upon released! This is not a male, female: black, white: republican, democrat issue! This is a societal issue and I firmly know that if we all look at it as just that, we would all be more inclined to assist our returning citizens. They've did what was required of them. They did their time, rehabilitated themselves while incarcerated, and are ready to be more involved, not only just on their transitions, but for the most part, in their communities! So, I humbly ask each and every one of you to look past the all the distractions and give our returning citizens a fair chance at transitioning. I am sure that you would see less parole violations and more productivity from these citizens. Humbly in ask, W. Anthony West
The passage of this bill would allow returning citizens to experience a proper first step in the process of successfully reentering society. Our primary goal is to assist them in their pursuit to become productive citizens who are ready to contribute to the larger community and this bill compliments that objective. Imagine not having Identification to prove who you are for employment, to open a bank account, rent an apartment, get needed medication, pick your kids up from school, or even to say this is who I am. How many of us frantically look for our identification once we discover it's not where it should be. The passing of this bill effectively addresses these concerns for our returning citizens, which is a plus for the services we provide and for the assistance they will need. Having ID eliminates wasted time and other easily avoided roadblocks that otherwise frustrates and slows them down. Passing this bill is one way to demonstrate that we are serious about supporting those who need not only our verbal encouragement but practical assistance.
People re-entering society after being released from prison will face many challenges like trying to find employment, housing, accessing certain benefits. Issuing state IDs to people re-entering society when being release from prison is a simple reform that can help them succeed in finding employment, a place to live, they can also access their certain benefits. Passing this bill will have a vast impact on clients.
HB2249 - Prisoners; Department of Corrections-issued and jailer-issued identification I have been fortunate enough to work with justice involved individuals for over 10 years and have seen significant improvemment in the services and opportunites provided to my clients. Now more than ever, it is easier for someone returning to the community to obtain employment. Employment opportunities are here in the NRV for justice involved individuals and the largest barrier to employment is not having the proper identifcation upon release. If someone is released without a minimum of a birth certificate and a social security card, this can delay getting an ID by months, not just days. Clients being sucessful is largely dependant upon gaining employment, as we are aware the other goals are all reliant on employment. Without a job, you are not able to obtain a place to live, pay court cost, pay child support obligations and etc. IDs are vital to clients reentry, help us put our clients back to work and quick. Pass this legislations to have a huge impact on Virginia and our recidivism rate. Thank you!
When thinking of basic needs as a returning citizen a lot of things come to mind, none more important than government issued identification. Without it you can't sign up for things like EBT, get a job, or qualify for government housing. This is the hand up these citizens need to get back into everyday life and be a productive member of our communities. We have clients that are spending up to the first three months of release tryin to get necessary documents to receive a picture id. Not having the ability to get a job or assistance then feeling forced to make bad decisions to survive. Please consider the huge impact this will make for these citizens and approve HB2249!
Breaking down barriers really can only begin with ID. So much begins with ID, such as qualifying for programs, applying for employment and many others. Obtaining ID has shown to be a very trying difficult process for returning citizens. The state level DOC has done great things to shorten this gap, however local jails are having some difficulty in making sure when individuals who are released have sufficient support or ability to obtain ID. This problem spans many aspects from facilities to the DMV on process and how they accept or process returning citizens application for ID. Please consider this bill as a great way forward for helping those who paid their debt to society by incarceration and to be able to have ability to become productive from day one of release.
Hello, One of our concerns is the identification needed once released from the jail. This is a barrier for returning citizens preventing them from obtaining employment until identification can be provided. We work diligently in the community with partners that are willing to hire returning citizens; however, the employment is contingent upon meeting certain criteria. If we could work with the local jails to assist with this matter during pre-release that would be great! Thanks for all of your support in advance.
This legislation HB 2249 is something that I have wished for 15 plus years ago. I have seen multiple people who are release from jail that can't take care of their families. Why, because they are not able to produce the necessary documents that they entered prison with but left with nothing. This is unreal. Because our Government makes the laws and the police and institutions are backed by the Governments rules and regulations. But, we can't even make sure that everyone who enters prison or jail has the necessary documents to take care of their families and PAY THEIR BILLS THAT OUR GOVERNMENT RECEIVES THE TAXES TO RUN THIS COUNTRY. Its almost impossible to believe that our legal system don't want to insure that we as offenders (Citizens) would like to do our part as well. If I can't prove who I am how come I am being arrested.
Passing this legislation would mean that individuals that are currently incarcerated would be prioritized in getting their DMV identification prior to release. OAR of Richmond served 4,638 individuals last year (FY 22 July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022) and over 1,500 of those individuals required assistance in obtaining their documents. This included staff assistance with paperwork and applications as well as the agency paying for these ID's. Offering DMV ID services to a person while incarcerated in a local jail or state prison facility means that immediately upon release they already have ID which will help them to be a step ahead in obtaining employment, state benefits, bank accounts, housing, and more. An ID is a required document and it should be required that facilities work with DMV and vital records to provide these documents before a person is released.
This would be huge to get HB2249 passed. We have returning citizens enrolling into our programs without any types of identification. When we can find employers willing to hire returning citizens, they will not hire them without identification. We generally lose a month or longer before we are able to obtain these documents. Returning citizens normally have no proof of address, making it impossible to get DMV photo ID, Social Security card requires ID, Birth certificates take weeks to get, and even with Birth Certificate, still cannot DMV ID. Please pass this bill and remove a huge roadblock for our already struggling citizens trying to succeed. Thanks
Securing state-issued ids, birth certificates and/or social security cards prior to being released from prison plays a significant role in simplifying the process of getting our returning citizens back into the community as employed, tax-paying citizens. Undue time and severely limited client service funds are spent getting these items which allow our Employment Specialists to quickly find employment for our program participants. A state-issued id or driver's license, a social security card, and, in some instances, a birth certificate are required for most employment. Please pass this legislation that will smooth the path for our returning citizens to gainful employment and a return to a contributing member of their community.
HB1459 - Law-enforcement officers, retired state; retention of badge.