The Department of Corrections will be required to provide several additional types of assistance to inmates released from state correctional facilities to help facilitate a successful reentry into the community.
A new law, effective Sept. 1, 2021, unless otherwise noted, requires the department to provide released inmates:
• a copy of the inmate’s unofficial criminal history compiled by the department;
• information on how to obtain the inmate’s full official criminal history from the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension;
• general information describing the laws and processes for obtaining an expungement of the inmate’s criminal record;
• general information on the inmate’s right to vote;
• current information on local career workforce centers;
• a record of the programs the inmate completed while in prison;
• an accounting of any court-ordered payments, fines and fees owed upon release of which the department has knowledge;
• assistance in obtaining a Social Security card;
• a medical discharge summary;
• effective July 1, 2022, information on how to obtain a complete copy of the inmate’s medical record at no charge;
• general information on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, eligibility criteria and application process;
• assistance securing copies of a birth certificate, upon request of an inmate;
• assistance in working with the Department of Public Safety to provide no-fee state ID cards;
• assistance applying for government-funded medical insurance prior to release from incarceration; and
• help developing a homelessness mitigation plan.
These requirements do not apply to inmates imprisoned for a release violation.
Regardless of the reason for imprisonment, the Department of Corrections must provide all inmates in need of non-narcotic prescription medications a 30-day supply upon release.
The law also establishes that a valid Department of Corrections or Federal Bureau of Prisons identification card, containing the released inmate’s full name, date of birth, and photograph is an acceptable secondary form of proof of identity in an application for a state ID card, instruction permit or driver’s license.
Effective July, 1, 2021, the new law also requires the Department of Corrections to submit a report to the Legislature on the department’s homelessness mitigation plan by Oct. 31, 2022, and a report detailing the number of inmates released to homelessness from prison by Feb. 15, 2022, and annually thereafter.
Rep. Erin Koegel (DFL-Spring Lake Park) and Sen. David Osmek (R-Mound) sponsor the law.