Target: US Congress
Goal: Don’t deny food stamps to those who have been convicted of “serious and violent crimes”
The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program is a federal program that provides food stamps to 47 million Americans who are struggling to make ends meet.
A recent amendment made by Senator David Vitter to the Farm Bill will cut back the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program to make it so that anyone who has been convicted of a any number of what are classified as “serious and violent crimes” would not be allowed in the program.
This cutback not only affects so-called criminals, but their family members who will no longer have a means of getting food and supporting themselves without this program. The proposed amendment makes no distinction about when the crime was committed or if jail time or service has already been fulfilled.
Often times ex-offenders face tremendous difficulty in finding stable jobs, housing, and lives even after their sentence has been completed. This amendment is another difficulty that ex-offenders would have to face in trying to become reintegrated into society.
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, criminal justice and civil rights groups wrote that this amendment would “impose a burden on thousands of seniors, children, and working families hardest hit by the nation’s economic downturn.”
Since this amendment makes no distinction about the ex-convicts’ individual cases, when they were committed, or what their family’s situation is, it is clear that this amendment’s only aim is to further the growing economic gap, taking even more from those who are already struggling.
Please tell Congress that this bill cannot get passed while this amendment remains a part of it.
Dear Members of Congress,
The amendment made by Senator David Vitter to the Farm Bill would be unimaginably detrimental to millions of families who would no longer be able to support themselves.
Ex-offenders are faced with a series of difficulties as they attempt to reintegrate themselves in society. Access to jobs, housing, and education is made extremely difficult as ex-offenders face prejudices and barriers. This amendment would be just another way of preventing ex-offenders from being able to fully reform and become members of society.
The amendment makes no distinction on when the crime was committed or whether the sentence has already been carried out—meaning, for example, that someone who is now in their forties, was convicted as a teenager, and has already carried out their sentence may be forced to go without food or turn to other methods in order to survive.
In addition to this amendment being harmful to ex-offenders it also targets the family members of ex-offenders or people who are otherwise dependent on them. By not allowing ex-offenders to participate in the foodstamps program, the families of ex-offenders are also being denied participation through no fault of their own. Many of these families already struggle to get by and this amendment would only further hurt them.
Please do not sign the Farm Bill until the Vitter amendment is taken out of it.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: David Vitter via Wikimedia Commons