“The presence of so much hunger and poverty in our communities, nation, and around the world is a grave moral scandal.” - For I Was Hungry and You Gave Me Food, USCCB
Adequate and nutritious food is a basic need and a fundamental human right. Nothing should stand in the way of people having access to the food they need to live. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is one of this nation’s most effective and important federal programs to combat hunger, serving over 40 million people in need. However, some of the most vulnerable individuals are currently cut off from its benefits.
22 states currently ban those who have felony drug convictions from receiving SNAP benefits. This is despite the fact that research shows that individuals leaving incarceration experience food insecurity at higher rates. Ask your members of Congress to support the RESTORE Act which eliminates the ban on SNAP benefits for people with drug-related felony convictions. This ban does nothing to advance public safety and is counterproductive, preventing returning citizens from fully reintegrating into society. Instead of continuing to punish persons who have paid their debt to society and their families, we should offer the necessary tools – including food – to help them lead a more productive life.
We invite you to include your thoughts and personal experience. How has the SNAP ban for those with drug-related felony convictions impacted you or your community?
You can learn more about the USCCB’s advocacy on this issue in the recent USCCB letters supporting the RESTORE Act and advocating for Farm Bill legislation that includes expanding SNAP eligibility, including to formerly incarcerated individuals.