Food Stamps for Drug Felons

In previous posts titled “Visions” and “The New Jim Crow”, I spoke a little about some of the things that inspired me into action. I thought that it was time to follow that up with an update!

For those of you just tuning in let me bring you up to speed.

In 1996, welfare reform was a great political platform. A bill passed through the Senate permanently banning anyone with a felony drug conviction from ever receiving benefits from the food stamp program. While it is easy to see the good intentions behind this law, it is an extremely flawed policy. In fact, 39 out of 50 states have opted out of it but Texas has not. Texas has the 2nd highest rate of incarceration in the world and a large percentage of those who have records are in some way drug related.

People have the capacity for change. Why discriminate ONLY against people who were CAUGHT with drugs? Those that have criminal histories already face many obstacles to employment, housing, and taking away access to a need so basic is inhumane!

I in no way want to advocate for abuse of the welfare system. In times of need, however, it can be essential to have a safety net. As someone with a felony drug conviction on my record, I get irate to think that I face another sort of double jeopardy in this area. I face obstacles to employment and in many other areas of my life for the role that I played in my past. I should not be discriminated against when a person convicted of any other type of crime is allowed access to these benefits. My tax dollars help fund this program and yet if I need assistance I am denied. I should mention that in Texas, we can get food stamps strictly for the children and I am thankful for that. What about the people who don’t have children? Those who have no support system in place to help in times of need and don’t have an child to anchor them to the community are at a higher risk of re-offending.

Having the opportunity to write for Conspire inspired me and compelled to DO something. This might seem like an odd cause with all the noteworthy things out there that I could devote my time to. As I have spent time working on it, I can see this is the perfect issue for me to begin with. It is my opportunity to give a platform to a group who needs one. While I have been working on this I have found that a lot of people who have criminal histories don’t know that they get their voting rights back when they are finished with their sentence. I hope to get the word out, not only about changing this law. I hope to inspire others like me to register to vote and promote change for the people who come behind us.

I have recently started a petition that can be found here. Please sign it to show your support!

I hope to gather up signatures from people all over the state and nation so that in a few months when I go testify to the many reasons why this should be changed, I can go with support of constituents that will grab the attention of our representatives. I realize that not everyone will agree with me on this issue, but you can’t help but love my passion!

-Lauren Johnson

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13 thoughts on “Food Stamps for Drug Felons

  1. hi i have a drug felony and i am disabled ive tried to get on foodstamps but was denied becouse of my felony . yes i made a mistake in life but havent we all ? i do agree that people should be drug tested to get on foodstamps but i dont think its write to take them away compleatly i have did my time and learned my lesson so please take the band off its ok to put restrictions like fingerprints and drug testing please help me and everyone else get our lifes togeather

    • I got busted about 10 yrs ago have been clean 8 yrs and stil cant get food stamps yes i was wrong i am disabled should i have to starve because of mistake i made years ago ?

      • Brief update! This coming Tuesday March 26th (the day after my birthday, they will be hearing testimony involving three bills on this issue! I am so glad that not only one but three have made it this far, AND as an extra bonus, a lady I spoke with said that the house budget committee has voted in favor of Texas opting out of this law. They only look at the numbers so it isn’t about political lines and their vote often carries significant clout so cross your fingers or If you can come up and show support that would be great also!

  2. It is a sad day in this world when people whom truley need help can not recieve it based on the mistakes they have made in the past. Even reguarless of the fact that they have already been judged , sentenced and paid their debt to society for their crime. Not onley have they been punished once for their cimes , they are being punished for a lifetime due to the fact that their crime is now a matter of public records causeing it to be almost impossible to find employment muchless find a job that is enough money to support themselfs on in this world that we live in today. And you may as well forget it and go back to jail for the rest of your life. Because if you are also divorced or responcible for paying child support and medicle care for your children ,since if you are lucky enough to find a job it will not be enough to take care of your obligations to your children and be enough to provide a roof over your head and have a place to spend time with your children like you should muchless be able to have food to eat and enough money to live on if you can,t recieve the same kind of help that you help pay for others to have that comes out of your paycheck if you happen to find a job ,that you are not given the oppertunity to ever benefit from due to getting caught makeing a mistake in wich they now have placed judgement on you and placed a lable across your forehead as a convicted drug fellon for everyone in the the world to know about , giving you no chance to have a clean slate to start your life over again muchless to ever be seen by anyone as anything other than as convicted drug fellon for the rest of your life irather than being looked at as being as normal capable and deserving as they see other people that may or may not be just as guilty of the same thing or possibly worse that haven’t been caught and may not ever be cought and have to pay for there mistakes and have judgement placed on them for the rest of their lives. Lord we have had a president whom has admitted to smokeing weed and we did not impeach him , so why is it ok to punish others for the same thing for the rest of their lives in every way possible that affect them being able to survive in this world today ???????

  3. I agree this should be changed. I am a past convicted drug felon n disabled. I done my time n changed my life around n am in recovery 5yrs now clean. I live in Missouri n cant get foodstamps n i need them so badly i go hungry sumtimes cause no food. THIS LAW NEEDS CHANGED ASAP…Yes i agree with the drug testing before u gettem. I dont understand why drug offenders cant get them an robbers, molesters, rapist, murders, theives n all felons BUT drug convicted ppl cant. Im all for changin the law….

  4. Id like it too heard that we want the law changed here in Missouri also so us past drug felons can get foodstamps also. Thanks

  5. Does anyone know if someone who was living with a benefit recipient is a felon budoes it make a difference if he’s put on the paper work if he’s not on the case?

  6. All people have a right to get food when they need help. Drug test them then help with food stamps when they are clean!!

  7. I recieved a purchasing drugs by fraud case the funny thing about it is it occurred in 07 didn’t even know I had a case til 09 while working.I got two years probation and finished it cause I lost drivers liscense but I won’t be able to get food stamps either .this sucks but she your black ,poor and no money your sol on the judicial system and life

  8. almost all charges have to do with drugs. killings,theft, robbery, the list can go on and on but the people that actually get a bullshit position charge 8 years ago have to pay for it and cant get any help when needed. Not even to bring up all the GREAT jobs felons can get. one mistake in life can make the rest of your life a struggle. the worst part is they have tons of sick fucks out there getting food stamps or have great jobs and have done awful things but get lucky and slide right by and don’t get caught. if only everyone got caught for crimes they commit no one would have a job or any kind of government help. one messed up system.

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