Formerly incarcerated persons can now obtain IDNYC cards

Rikers Island Jail Crisis
Correction Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi speaks during a news conference at the Rikers Island complex, Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, in New York.
Associated Press/Jeenah Moon/File

The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) Commissioner, Raquel Batista, NYC Department of Social Services (DSS) Commissioner, Steven Banks and NYC Department of Correction Commissioner (DOC), Vincent Schiraldi on Wednesday announced reforms to help formerly incarcerated individuals to obtain identification.

To obtain an IDNYC, the city’s free municipal identification card, applicants must prove their identity by showing several forms of ID.

But, on Wednesday, the city bean expanding its list of acceptable documents to include ID information and photos maintained by DOC.

“The information already maintained by DOC as part of the detention process will serve as one point of identification, easing the steps to get an IDNYC card for formerly incarcerated individuals,” said MOIA in a statement.

“At the Department of Social Services, our top priority has been improving social services delivery through a range of reforms that make it easier for New Yorkers in need to access the resources to which they are entitled,” Banks said.

“With basic proof of identification needed to apply for and access many government services and supports, the IDNYC program has given more than a million New Yorkers an effective form of ID and made our city fairer and more inclusive, but we knew we could take that progress further,” he added.

“This common-sense reform will help us better support more New Yorkers, regardless of background, which includes addressing the unique needs of individuals who’ve experienced criminal legal system involvement, who deserve the same access to opportunity and services as other New Yorkers,” Banks continued.

Batista said formerly incarcerated individuals are “often left vulnerable due to the transient nature and varied circumstances when released from DOC custody.

“This effort will allow the procurement of necessary identity documents after their release so they can experience a safe integration back to society and experience IDNYC’s wide variety of benefits,” she said.

“A core part of our mission is to help people return to their communities with tools that will allow them to thrive,” Schiraldi said. “This is a common-sense effort that will make people’s lives better.”

Batista said individuals leaving DOC custody often do not have photo identification, “which impedes their ability to reintegrate into the community and access critical assistance programs and benefits.

“This new effort will help facilitate reentry for formerly incarcerated individuals by allowing them to use documentation produced in connection with their detention as proof of identity in obtaining IDNYC,” he said.

To apply for IDNYC, applicants will need a total of four points from documents proving identity and NYC residency.

For more information about documents accepted by IDNYC and to book an appointment, visit or call 311 and say “IDNYC.”

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