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Community Advocacy Organization

Benson brings state ID services to Ingham County's returning citizens

Michigan Department of State now partners with three counties and Michigan Department of Corrections to serve returning citizens

MDOS and Ingham County Sherrif's Department staff with the Mid-Michigan Secretary of State mobile office at the Ingham County Jail

MASON, Mich. – Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson today announced that the Michigan Department of State (MDOS) is advancing its commitment to provide eligible returning citizens with a state ID or renewed driver’s license by expanding a successful state-county partnership to Ingham County. The Mid-Michigan Secretary of State mobile office made its first visit to the Ingham County Jail today, assisting returning citizens as they prepare to secure jobs, housing, and community services upon their exit.

“A valid state ID or driver’s license is essential to land a good job, find stable housing, and secure a fresh start,” Secretary Benson said. “I am committed to meeting Michiganders where they are and providing accessible government services directly in our communities. This partnership with Ingham County and other counties around the state is helping returning citizens make positive plans for their future. Thank you, Sheriff Wriggelsworth, for your leadership in this important effort that’s changing lives for the better.”

“The Ingham County Sheriff’s Office is happy to partner with the Michigan Secretary of State Office, as well as the Ingham County Clerk, to help facilitate incarcerated individuals get legal identifications - mostly Michigan ID’s but some driver’s license renewals as well,” said Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth. “To have this legal document upon release from jail will be a huge help to finding employment, applying for lease and/or mortgage, benefits, and legal driving privileges among other things. Our hope is this important project will be a good first step to help ensure that many of these folks go on to leading productive lives, and never again return to jail.”

“It is my pleasure to partner with Secretary Benson to help restore the rights of these Ingham County citizens,” said Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum. “Government gets a bad rap for throwing up bureaucratic barriers, and I firmly believe that we need to do everything we can to cut the red tape for those individuals who may not otherwise be able to do so on their own. These partnerships can provide a crucial hand up to our most vulnerable populations and I am so pleased to have played a part in helping them.”

During today’s visit, MDOS staff worked directly with returning citizens, Ingham County Sheriff’s Office personnel, and representatives from the Ingham County Clerk’s office to secure, complete, and submit all required documents for state IDs or driver’s license renewals. A similar successful partnership is already operating between MDOS, Genesee and Kent counties in their county jails and with the Michigan Department of Corrections at state facilities. More than 12,000 Michigan returning citizens have secured their driver’s license or state ID through the programs since September 2020.

Benson is working to partner with additional counties in Mid-Michigan, West Michigan, and Southeast Michigan where mobile offices currently operate. Additional mobile offices will launch soon in the Great Lakes Bay area, Northern Michigan, and the U.P., which will further enable MDOS to expand county partnerships to support returning citizens in communities around the state.

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