Inmates will often ask to keep their jail wristband which has a photo on it along with basic information.

To fight against repeat offenders, Monroe County is taking an innovative approach to helping inmates successfully reenter their communities.

Inmates in the Monroe County Jail and the correctional facility will now be able to get Non-Driver ID cards through a pilot program recently launched.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is collaborating with the Monroe County Clerk’s Office to provide the government issued ID cards, for free.

The program does not utilize taxpayer dollars. It is fully funded by purchases inmates make at the commissary.

As Monroe County Jail Captain John Kennedy explains, the jail can take a portion of those profits to enhance programs for the inmates.

Each card cost around eight to 10 dollars depending on the inmate’s age.

That fee goes towards paying the DMV staff, which is working after hours so resources are not being taken away from the day-to-day operations.

“It will open up more opportunities for [the inmates] when they leave the facility. Not having a government-issued photo ID…there are so many things you can’t do. You can’t get services from mental health providers, [the ID] assists you to get jobs, you can’t even get on a plane,” explained Capt. Kennedy.

He said inmates will often ask to keep their jail wristband which has a photo on it along with basic information.

“To have someone use a wristband with a photo from the worst day of their life…there’s a stigma associated with it,” he said. He went on to say that some inmates will often lose their homes and belongings while behind bars.

“Long-term we’re hoping to raise people out of poverty and out of the criminal justice system. That’s good for everyone in the community,” said Monroe County Clerk Adam Bello.

He explained that getting rid of those barriers will allow former inmates to become more successful once they leave jail.

“We have the responsibility to serve everyone in this community, and to think creatively on how to increase our services without increasing the burden to taxpayers,” said Bello.

Once approved, an inmate will have their NYS Non-Driver ID card within seven to 10 days.