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Connecting Returning Citizens with ID and Bank Accounts: Lessons for Policymakers and Practitioners

Connecting Returning Citizens with ID and Bank Accounts: Lessons for Policymakers and Practitioners

Held on Thursday, October 27, 2022 | 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM CT

The Financial Solutions Lab, Alabama Appleseed, and TYTHEdesign co-hosted this virtual session dedicated to actionable insights from pilot programs in Alabama that connected returning citizens with IDs and bank accounts.

Watch the Recording

Financial Health Network research found that the lack of access to a valid ID is a foundational barrier for individuals who are unable to open accounts at financial institutions post-incarceration.

Over the course of several months in 2021-22, the Financial Solutions Lab Collaborative convened a group of cross-sector stakeholders in Alabama with a strong interest in confronting the challenges around obtaining a valid state ID, and promoting access to safe, affordable financial services. The Collaborative also funded projects to address ID access challenges for returning citizens, with the end goal of improving financial health, while empowering and uplifting the expertise of justice-impacted individuals.

In a webinar with our Alabama-based grantees, we shared relevant lessons and practices for policymakers, practitioners, and researchers across the country.

Key Takeaways

  • Unique finhealth and ID-related challenges faced by those returning from prison
  • Insights and best practices from pilots that explored:
    • Methods to develop pathways for providing ID to those leaving prison
    • Approaches for social services nonprofits, parole and probation departments, and other stakeholders to connect returning citizens with IDs and safe, affordable financial products as part of a reentry financial health strategy
    • Opportunities to work across sectors and engage incarcerated and formerly-incarcerated individuals in pathways and programs that support reentry


Dr. Hollie Cost, Auburn University

Stephanie Hicks, Restorative Strategies

Tari Williams, Greater Birmingham Ministries

Lee Langston, Alabama Non-Violent Offenders Organization

Diane Standaert, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Leah Nelson, Alabama Appleseed Center for Law & Justice

Amelia Josephson, Financial Health Network

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