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The Basics To Success

The Basics To Success

Welcome Back, you have Choices, and we want to support you to make the right ones. But first thing is first, get your basics together.   

Reentry Keys understands that to set someone up for success; it must begin before a release. If you are a citizen serving time or have a loved one waiting for their release date, join us in promoting "Prepared Returns."

The following are the essential and most necessary documents you will need to gather as soon as released to set yourself up for success. With these documents, you will access public benefits and services, apply for housing and employment, enroll in school and other vital life skill programs. Continue reading to learn why you need them and how you can obtain:

California ID- Your ID provides proof of who you are—your identity. With your I.D., you can participate and take advantage of all services your community offers. A few services you can access with an I.D. are housing, employment, enrollment in school, medical care, public benefits, transportation, driving privileges, voting, banking, and specific licenses that allow you to work in certain types of jobs. If you cannot get a state I.D. right away, some organizations might use a prison or jail I.D. card to begin resource applications. 

How to Obtain Pre-Release: "In California, you may be eligible to apply for a CAL-ID if your prison provides this program. With the CAL-ID program, prisoners with a release date can obtain a FREE Card when released from prison. As of July 2015, the CAL-ID program has expanded to all 36 state prison facilities in California. However, the CAL-ID Program is NOT available at CDCR's contracted facilities (called "Community Correctional Facilities") or CDCR's conservation camps (also known as "fire camps"). This is because CDCR and the DMV do not consider contracted facilities or fire camps to be "state prisons," according to Roadmaps by Lareentry.org. 

How to Obtain Post-Release: Locate the nearest local DMV or visit dmv.ca.com to set an appointment. Remember to provide an acceptable identity; a birth certificate, passport, and an SSN card are proper documents. 

Fee: — Free for eligible prisoners with a release date. Must apply before release. It might vary by state.

Birth Certificate - Your birth certificate is essential because it proves your legal name, age, birth date, and birthplace. If you were born in the United States, it also demonstrates your U.S. citizenship. Having a copy of your birth certificate is necessary to get other vital forms of I.D. 

 How to Obtain Pre-Release: This document can be obtained before releasing in two manners:

Ask a family member to visit their local County Recorder's Office and request an "Authorized Certificate." The family member must be a parent or legal guardian of the registrant. A child, grandparent, grandchild, brother or sister, spouse, or domestic partner of the registrant can go today. Please inform them that they will have to show proof of I.D. 

Requesting an application by phone or mail. This manner is a good option for an individual who hasn't been released. Yet, it will require you to pay for a notarized application. To request one by phone or mail, visit your County Recorder Office's Website to obtain an application and learn the complete steps. Remember to sign and complete the application to the best ability.

How to Obtain Post-Release: You can obtain it on the same day by visiting your county's recorder's office in person. When visiting, you will need to be prepared to show I.D. If you don't have access to a state I.D., some counties will allow you to use your jail or prison card as proof of identification and make you sign an affidavit to declare under perjury that you are who you claim to be. 

Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk (RR/CC) 

 Birth, Death and Marriage Records Section 

 12400 Imperial Highway 

 Norwalk, California 90650 

 Telephone: (800)201-8999

 Email: Recorder@rrcc.lacounty.gov 

Website: https://lavote.gov/home/records/birth-records/birth-records-request/who-can-obtain-a-copy-of-a-birth-record

Fee: Check site for updated fee

Passport - A passport is needed to travel outside the U.S. and return by air, sea, or land. A passport is also suitable for identification purposes. Although not required to obtain resources and work, it can serve as an additional proper identification document. 

To receive your passport, you will need to bring the following types of documents to your appointment: Social Security Number Card, Proof of Citizenship or Naturalization (Birth Certificate), Photo ID, and proof that you are off probation or parole. Individuals who've committed international drug trafficking from getting a passport and those who owe $2,500 or more in back child support or certain government loans are ineligible for passports. 

How to Obtain Pre-release: To obtain a passport application, request an application by mail to: National Passport Processing Center P.O. Box 90155 Philadelphia, PA 19190-0155.  

How to Obtain Post-release:  To apply for a passport in person, you must be traveling within two weeks. Due to Covid, all other passport Applications must be mailed to the Passport Office.

You can access a passport application at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/get-fast/passport-agencies.html

Fee: Check the Website for the latest fee 

Social Security Card - All individuals born in the U.S. have a unique 9-digit number assigned to them when their birth is reported. The government gives this number and is primarily used to identify social security benefits and tax purposes. It's also needed to use hospitals' services and to open a bank account. Remember, you will need to be ready to show proper identification when visiting in person. Please review how to obtain a birth certificate and I.D. steps above if you need additional proofs of identification. 

How to Obtain Pre-release: First, inquire with your facility to ask if they have an MOU agreement with the Social Security Administration. This will help you obtain your SSN when you don't have a state I.D. If your prison/jail does not have an MOU, you can download an SSN application and mail it to SSA Regional Public Affairs Office P.O. Box 4201 Richmond, CA 94804. Please know that you will need to show proof of identification, so it's crucial that you also mail a copy of your jail or prison card as proof of I.D. To request an application by phone, you can call 1-800-772-1213. 

How to Obtain Post-release: To obtain post-release, locate your closest SSA by clicking here. You can make an appointment over the phone, in person, and through the web. 

Fee: Free

Health Care Insurance - It is essential to understand that everyone will need healthcare at one point in their life. You can access mental health services, substance abuse treatment, visit doctors, prescriptions, dental care, and other emergency medical services with health care coverage. No law limits one with a past criminal record to obtain health insurance. 

How to Obtain Pre-Release: While you or a loved one is incarcerated, it's a constitutional right to receive essential health care, including mental health services. The jail or prison is responsible for providing these services. If you're approaching your release date, connect with your Pre-Release Staff to help you apply for Medi-Cal. Staff will have to get your permission to act as your "If you "Authorized Representative" to complete MediCal form 306. The staff person must ensure that your application is complete 60-90 days before your release and send it to the Medi-Cal office in the county where you'll be living. 

 How to Obtain Post Release: You can sign up for health insurance by visiting www.coveredca.com or calling 1 (800) 300-1506.    

Covered California is the central Health Insurance Hub in California. If your income qualifies for Medical or Medicaid, you will be informed. If you are working and make above the allowed income, health insurance subsidies are available, and you can receive health insurance for as allow as a dollar a month.   

For Reentry Veterans: You can call (1-877-222-8387) to speak to a representative and find a Veterans Administration Office. 

Other basics that you can consider post-release that will support you or your loved one post-release are a library card and voting card. With a library card, an individual can access books, surf the web, and take advantage of local programs offered free at the library. The obtaining of a voting card can also allow an individual to feel a part of the community, for it can allow someone to feel empowered to contribute and make a difference.  

If you need any support or have any questions regarding how to prepare yourself successfully for reentry, Call or Text 24/7 at 888-699-3559. We are here to serve!