Saturday, 11 April 2015 00:00

The Right To Eat (and Why Being Poor Isn't a Crime)

Written by  Jill Richardson | Common Dreams
'If somebody’s struggling so much that they resort to crime, should we really punish them by denying them food?' 'If somebody’s struggling so much that they resort to crime, should we really punish them by denying them food?' (Image: Great Beyond/Flickr)

There’s one group of people in this country who probably get less sympathy than anyone else: felons.

If you’re a convicted felon, very few Americans care about your plight. Can’t find a job or an apartment because of your record? Too bad, we tell them, you shouldn’t have committed a crime.

In addition to being denied jobs or housing, convicted felons lose some or all of their voting rights in every state except Maine and Vermont. Twelve states continue to deny felons voting rights even after they’ve served prison sentences and completed parole.

Most states deny drug felons eligibility for food stamps, too.

In some states, like Arizona, Florida, and Texas, the ban is across the board. Elsewhere, including in Colorado, New Jersey, and Wisconsin, drug felons can regain this right if they complete alcohol or drug treatment.

This boggles my mind.

If somebody’s struggling so much that they resort to crime, should we really punish them by denying them food? They’re still human beings, no matter what they’ve done in their lives.

Maybe they’re dealing with an addiction or a mental health issue. As of 2009, about a third of felony arrests were for drug crimes.

Maybe they’re trying to function in society as upstanding citizens after their incarceration. Maybe they’re struggling to do so.

For former felons trying to lead an honest life — but poor enough to qualify for food stamps — wouldn’t food assistance make it that much easier to get by without breaking the law again?

Wouldn’t relieving them of the stress of affording food allow them to focus on other things — like staying away from drugs, or working through the problems that led them to commit a crime in the first place?

Food stamps aren’t a magic fix. You have to be desperately poor to qualify, and even then, Uncle Sam isn’t exactly a generous benefactor. But they help. They take away stress and meet a need for people that don’t live easy lives.

Society should do all it can to rehabilitate felons, rather than punishing them for the rest of their lives. No criminal record negates their right as human beings to eat.

Link to article from Common Dreams

Read 939 times

Latest End Corporate Rule News

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6

Featured News

  • Climate rally brings together ‘uneasy coalition’ of Naomi Klein and union boss Jerry Dias +

    As a study in contrasts, Thursday’s climate change rally in Toronto’s financial district had much to offer. Sweet-grass smoke mixed Read More
  • The Growing Call to #GetMoneyOut +

    This week, local activists in 12 states delivered petitions in support of a constitutional amendment to get big money out Read More
  • How the Money Primary Is Undermining Voting Rights +

    Fifty years ago, African-Americans were denied the right to vote. Now the vast majority of Americans are being denied the Read More
  • Booker's position on trade could help define him +

    WASHINGTON – Trade could be a defining issue for Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey as he works to establish credibility Read More
  • TPP Media March +

        Join our TPP Twitter Storm. Everyone with a Twitter account can participate. The Twitter storm begins on Tuesday Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
  • 30
  • 31
  • 32
  • 33
  • 34
  • 35
  • 36
  • 37
  • 38
  • 39
  • 40
  • 41

Does Your Legislator Support the ERA

 

ERAMap

Featured End Corporate Rule News

  • Amazon’s Monopsony Is Not O.K. +

    Amazon.com, the giant online retailer, has too much power, and it uses that power in ways that hurt America. O.K., Read More
  • End Corporate Rule +

    Time and again, whether we are seeking sensible healthcare, environmental, economic, or foreign policy—supported by a majority of Americans—we hit Read More
  • A Short History of Postal Banking +

    As the debate over reinstituting postal banking heats up, we should know we had it. And it worked. Last week Read More
  • A New Postal Union Leader Really Doesn't Want Mail Sent From Staples +

    It’s unusual for a challenger to unseat an incumbent president in the postal workers’ union election, but Mark Dimondstein did Read More
  • Local GMO Fights Smash Records as Monsanto's Millions Bankroll Opposition +

    Citizen-led initiatives to regulate GMOs in Hawaii, Oregon and Colorado face deep pockets of outside industry groups Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

End Corporate Rule Calls

  • Listen to this month's call as the team discusses their new partnership with the Grand Alliance to save the USPS. Also,...
  • Listen to this month's call with special guests Mark Dudzik and Katherine Isaac, as they share their insider knowledge and...
  • This month's call is all about determining our action for 2015. The status of constitutional amendments is discussed, as...