Farm bill will deny food assistance to 100,000 formerly incarcerated individuals

The median annual income for a person right after they are released from prison is $6,500, so it's understandable why 70% of them receive food assistance of about $200 a month. This summer the House passed a bill that will deny food stamps to people who have served their sentences for violent crimes.

From Alex Busansky (founder of Impact Justice) and Gary Maynard (former president of the American Correctional Association) in the Washington Post:

The provision represents a disappointing step backward in the fight against recidivism and the larger struggle for justice. It also goes against a growing bipartisan consensus on key elements of federal criminal-justice reform, including reentry programs to help formerly incarcerated people as they work to become productive members of their communities.

This proposal might seem narrow in focus, but in fact it will affect more than 100,000 people leaving prisons each year after serving sentences for violent crimes. Loss of support at any point during their reentry — whether it's a place to live, food to eat, a path to employment or supportive family relations — can tip the balance for the returnee to make a decision that will lead him or her back to prison. Every element of reentry is critical during the difficult struggle to reestablish a life in the community — a struggle we should be supporting in every way possible.