Glitch prevents released inmates from getting licenses

The Department of Motor Vehicles and Supreme Court officials are working on a glitch in the rules that’s stopping newly released prison inmates from getting drivers’ licenses.

Until about a year ago, inmates were getting new drivers’ licenses by simply showing an ID card issued by the Department of Corrections and their old license at DMV. But the Rev. Mike Patterson, an activist trying to help newly released inmates, told the Senate Finance Committee on Friday DMV stopped issuing licenses to anyone whose old license had expired unless that inmate could produce all the same personal identification documents now required under the Real ID Act.

But DMV changed the rules so only an inmate with a current license could get it renewed.

“It came as a surprise when this happened,” he said.

He said after the hearing inmates at the Reno Restitution Center see the change as just another attempt to prevent them from being successful on the outside.

Patterson said the system was set up and funded by religious groups so inmates could get the ID they need to get a job and, once again, drive.

Jude Hurin of DMV said the department has to follow the law but he’s willing to work with Patterson and court officials including Chief Justice Jim Hardesty to find a way to fix the problem. Hardesty urged them to move quickly to get Corrections officials to provide inmates with proper identification papers when they are released.


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