David Butler was released last month after serving nine years in the Maryland Correctional Institution for assault with intent to murder.
He had no job, no home, little money and faced the culture shock of re-entering society.
Among the obstacles he faced is one some say could easily be fixed: He had no ID.
Butler said he spent his first three nights in the Washington County Cold Weather Shelter because he did not have money for housing and did not have a photo identification, birth certificate, Social Security card or other paperwork required by assistance agencies.
"I got released without any of those things," Butler said.
The situation troubles agents in the Division of Parole and Probation, who say ID problems place an extra burden on released inmates during their most vulnerable time.
Members of the group overseeing crime-fighting efforts in Hagerstown's "hot spot" high-crime area have drafted a letter to Public Safety Secretary Stuart O. Simms asking that inmates be allowed to keep their prison ID cards or be given more assistance before they leave prison.