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Gov. Rauner signs bill allowing offenders to receive birth certificates for free

Continuing his push for criminal justice reform, Gov. Bruce Rauner today signed Senate Bill 1413, which allows men and women to receive their birth certificate for no fee upon their release from the Department of Corrections.


“I am proud to sign this legislation that removes an unnecessary obstacle standing in the way of an offender’s second chance at life,” Gov. Rauner said. “When men and women leave a correctional facility and don’t have a birth certificate, they can’t do the most basic things. People need birth certificates to prove their identity, to find housing, to get a job and earn a decent wage. This legislation is just one more step in our effort to reduce the prison population and give people a real second chance.”


The bill, which was unanimously approved in both chambers of the General Assembly, removes a financial barrier for men and women who are trying to get back on track following release from prison. It is part of the governor’s efforts to reduce recidivism and, in turn, the prison population to give more Illinoisans a second chance. Gov. Rauner set the goal of reducing Illinois’ prison population by 25 percent by 2025. As of August 2017, the prison population is down approximately 11 percent since Gov. Rauner took office.


Specifically, SB 1413 amends The Vital Records Act, which currently provides that the State Registrar of Vital Records shall search birth records upon request for a $10 fee. The State Registrar can then issue a certified copy of the birth certificate upon request, for an additional $5 fee. This bill provides for a one-time waiving of the $10 and $5 fees for a person upon release on parole, mandatory supervised release, final discharge, or pardon from the Department of Corrections if the person presents a prescribed verification form from the Department of Corrections verifying the released person’s date of birth and social security number.