“During Wednesday’s debate on the Farm Bill, the Senate unanimously agreed to ban certain ex-convicts from receiving food assistance for life. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) claimed his amendment would prevent “murderers, rapists, and pedophiles”from ever receiving food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Under this amendment, anyone convicted for a violent crime or sexual assault will be shut out of the program for life, even if they served their time or committed the crime long ago. Their families will also suffer, as their share of SNAP benefits will exclude the convicted family member.
As Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes, these sentences have historically been handed down to more minorities than white offenders:
Given incarceration patterns in the United States, the amendment would have a skewed racial impact. Poor elderly African Americans convicted of a single crime decades ago by segregated Southern juries would be among those hit. The amendment essentially says that rehabilitation doesn’t matter and violates basic norms of criminal justice.”
Criminalizing poverty. This coming from a patron of D.C. madame. And the amendment passes unanimously. What is wrong with these people?
Photo from Robert Neff licensed under Creative Commons