On December 21 2012, Dr. Emily Wang, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at the Yale School of Medicine and the Associate Director of the Transitions Clinic Network, posted a piece in The American Prospect about the plight of Carla, a convicted felon who had recently been released from prison. Carla showed up at Dr. Wang’s office in tears. She had been doing well since her release from prison. She was drug-free, had regained custody of her children, and enrolled in a local community college.
Things were looking great for Carla, so why was she upset? In spite of a diligent job search, her felony conviction has made it virtually impossible to find even an entry-level job, and she can’t feed her children because she has no money and is not eligible for food stamps. Is it because she’s a felon? Not exactly. If Carla were a murderer or a rapist, she’d qualify for food stamps. But because she was convicted of possession of marijuana at the age of 20, she is ineligible for state assistance via the SNAP (food stamp) program.
32 states ban people with drug felony convictions from receiving food stamps. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that nine states have a lifetime ban for food stamp eligibility for drug felony convictions, and 23 states have a partial ban. Partial bans permit eligibility for people convicted of “possession” or who are enrolled in a drug treatment program. People who were convicted of selling drugs are completely ineligible.
(Source: azspot, via lilgodzilla)