• Thousands of Americans Are Hungry Because of Post-Prison Release Laws

    April 21, 2016

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Democracy, Minimum Wage, Post-Constitution America

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    Food stamps are for hungry people, which we should not have in America. There are of course cheaters, just like there are wealthy people who cheat on their taxes. The tax cheats won’t starve to death, or see their children go hungry, but released drug felons in many states will.

    It used to be that when you served your time for a crime, your “debt to society” was considered paid, and you were ready to re-enter society. But for many released drug felons, the punishment continues long after they leave jail.


    The felony drug ban is a Congressional-mandated lifetime restriction on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF; note the word family there) and food stamps (SNAP) for anyone convicted of a state or federal drug felony, unless states opt out. In states where the ban applies, a person released from a prison sentence are denied basic assistance at a time of extreme vulnerability.

    A study by The Sentencing Project found that in the 12 states that impose the lifetime ban, an estimated 180,000 women alone are impacted. If you include the other 24 states that impose a partial ban, the number of people affected is significantly higher. And since law enforcement is happily conducted with racial bias, people of color are disproportionately denied assistance.


    The felony drug ban can be traced back to the 1990s, when politicians of both parties sought political gain by getting “tough on crime.” Senator Phil Gramm , the sponsor of the ban, argued that “we ought not to give people welfare benefits who are violating the nation’s drug laws.” After just two minutes of floor debate, the measure was adopted by unanimous consent as part of the 1996 welfare “reform” legislation.

    Of course there are other post-prison punishments on felons. The most significant is that few employers will hire an ex-felon, and more employers than ever now run mandatory background checks even for lousy minimum wage jobs.  Pell grants are not available for felons, and most schools will deny them financial aid, ensuring most can’t receive the education they need to get back on their feet. Men and women with prior drug convictions are also typically denied public housing and other benefits. A lot of banks won’t deal with a felon.


    Now, let’s see a show of hands out there.

    Who thinks making a man or woman unemployed, hungry, potentially homeless and without a chance at education is going to reduce the chances s/he won’t recommit a crime? Nope, it’s just damn mean and stupid.



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  • Recent Comments

    • teri said...

      1

      And in a number of states, they are not allowed to vote. Forever.

      04/21/16 7:22 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      2

      “Who thinks making a man or woman unemployed, hungry, potentially homeless and without a chance at education is going to reduce the chances s/he won’t recommit a crime? Nope, it’s just damn mean and stupid.”

      What do you expect from the Dumbest Country on the Planet?

      04/21/16 10:00 AM | Comment Link

    • Roger Springfield said...

      3

      “It used to be that when you served your time for a crime, your “debt to society” was considered paid, and you were ready to re-enter society”. When was that? I’m 71 and I don’t ever remember that being the case. Other than that, just same old, same old. Shame.

      04/21/16 11:21 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...

      4

      Roger Springfield said…

      “When was that? I’m 71 and I don’t ever remember that being the case.”

      C’maan Rodger, didn’t you ever see a 30’s James Cagney movie? 🙂

      Btw, I too am 71, and don’t remember that being the case either. What I do remember is once convicted, always a criminal. Same ole shit. Different century.

      04/21/16 11:59 AM | Comment Link

    • Helen Marshall said...

      5

      Thank you Bill and Hillary for helping to make this possible.

      Is there ever any good news?

      (Interesting, I also am 71! Obviously a very perceptive age.)

      04/21/16 5:21 PM | Comment Link

    • Thousands of Americans Are Hungry Because of Post-Prison Release La… | Roy Schestowitz - API Key Placeholder said...

      6

      […] of Americans Are Hungry Because of Post-Prison Release Laws http://wemeantwell.com/blog/2016/04/21/thousands-of-americans-are-hungry-because-of-post-prison-rele… #hunger and American […]

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