Once a felon is released from prison, they are thrust into one of the most difficult periods of their life.
It is not easy to get back on one’s feet after a period of incarceration, which is why food stamps can be an important part of post-prison life for the vast majority of convicts.
The Clinton Era
Food stamps are referred to as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits and are used to help underprivileged members of society.
In 1996, Bill Clinton, who was known for being very tough on crime, implemented a federal ban on felons that were convicted for drug related offenses getting SNAP benefits.
Over the next twenty-one years, this embargo slowly began to ease up and now most states are a lot more lax about such things. Eighteen states now provide stamps to all felons regardless of the crime they committed as soon as they leave prison.
Twenty-six states offer the stamps to those felons that agree to undergo a probationary period and get treatment for their addictions. There are only six states left which have a total ban on drug offenders getting SNAP assistance, and even three of these are considering lifting the ban to at least some degree.
SNAP Benefits Are Temporary Relief
Felons can receive stamps until they are able to find gainful employment that would allow them to pay for food out of their own pocket.
This generally means getting a job that is a certain percentage of minimum wage, or if the felon has another member in their household that is also earning minimum wage. It varies from state to state but most of the time this is the general rule that applies to such situations.
No Pizza Party, Folks!
Stamps can be used to buy pretty much any of the basic food items that are not ready-made. What this means is that you can’t buy sandwiches or other items that are ready-made in the store, but you can buy meat, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, grains and anything else that you can cook at home.
You also can’t buy alcohol, cigarettes or pet food with your stamps, only basic necessities are covered by your SNAP benefits. This is still generally enough to help you get through the month without having to go hungry.