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November Coalition: Re-Entry Reform Now! - sidebar

Prisoner Re-Entry
in the News

Prisoner Re-Entry
& Reports

Public Assistance/Food Stamps

The released prisoner may apply for eligibility to receive food stamps. But since 1996, prisoners with drug convictions are permanently barred from receiving cash benefits or food stamps under state welfare programs. States may opt out in part or entirely from this nonsensical law.

As of January 2004 twenty-nine states have opted to fully or partially restore welfare assistance to all. That leaves twenty-one states with a full ban in place denying lifetime benefits to people with felony drug convictions.

In addition to the irony and unfairness of continuing the punishment after release, the 1996 ban threatens the availability of welfare funding for community-based residential treatment, threatens the continuity of diversion programs for addicted offenders, thus adding to already high costs of incarceration.

Additionally, and besides eliminating the 'safety net' for individuals who have 'done their time,' been in recovery, worked and paid taxes-the food-stamp ban jeopardizes state and local budgets facing an influx of individuals who will no longer qualify for federal assistance.

Currently under consideration by the 2004 Washington State Legislature is Senate Bill 6411 that would allow convicted drug felons to apply for and receive federally funded food stamps. SB 6411 should be supported because state law already permits more serious felons to receive food stamps after release, and this bill helps remove barriers to successful re-entry.

Informed citizens support SB 6411 and also the more general legislative proposal called "Act for Hungry Families 2004." This Act will mandate School Breakfast and Lunch programs in all elementary schools and increase participation in Summer Food Programs, according to Washington Citizen Action.

Related Links:

Drug Offenders: Various Factors May Limit the Impact Of Federal Laws That Provide For Denial Of Selected Benefits; from GAO, the Government Accounting Office (PDF Format)

Washington Citizen Action

After Prison: Roadblocks To Reentry - A Report On State Legal Barriers Facing People With Criminal Records; from the Legal Action Resource Center (Also available in PDF Format)

Visit the Legal Action Center's Rentry Resource Links

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Other Re-Entry Resources

After Prison: Roadblocks To Reentry - A Report On State Legal Barriers Facing People With Criminal Records; from the Legal Action Resource Center

Cons Helping Cons: is an "online support community for anyone who has left prison, jail, penitentiary, correctional facility, halfway house, or anyone dealing with the aftermath of a criminal past or criminal record."

Select Prisoner Reentry Publications; from The Urban Institute

Reentry: Helping Former Prisoners Return to Communities (PDF Format) from Making Connections: Neighborhood Transformations

Legal Barriers to Prisoner Reentry in New Jersey

Visit the Legal Action Center's for more Rentry Resources

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