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 3758 times

Latest End Corporate Rule News

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9

Support Postal Banking

Meme-PostalBanking-450

Button-SignthePetition

Occucard - Save the Post Office

OccuCardPostOffice

 

 

Oppose the TPP

Featured News

  • New Hampshire Students Say They Were Illegally Turned Away From The Polls +

    PLYMOUTH, NH — Plymouth State senior Jack Swymer headed to the polls around 11:30 a.m. to cast a ballot for Sen. Bernie Read More
  • Carbon Tax: The Low Oil Price Opportunity +

    Carbon taxes constitute a widely discussed policy tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing humanity’s headlong rush toward catastrophic Read More
  • How the Media Hide Undocumented Workers +

    In our post-modern (or post-post-modern?) age, we are supposedly transcending the material certainties of the past. The virtual world of Read More
  • Robert Reich: The Washington Post is lying to you about Bernie Sanders +

    A new editorial claims Sanders' proposal would reduce the quality of American healthcare. The notion is ludicrous Read More
  • Corporate Crime Runs Rampant Thanks to 'Rigged' System: Elizabeth Warren +

    Report suggests 'some giant corporations—and their executives—have decided that following the law is merely optional' "Corporate criminals routinely escape meaningful 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
  • 42
  • 43
  • 44
  • 45
  • 46
  • 47
  • 48
  • 49
  • 50
  • 51
  • 52
  • 53
  • 54
  • 55
  • 56
  • 57
  • 58
  • 59
  • 60
  • 61
  • 62
  • 63
  • 64
  • 65
  • 66
  • 67
  • 68
  • 69
  • 70
  • 71

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
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8

End Corporate Rule Calls

  • This month the team welcomes special guest Brad Bauman to discuss the attempt at privatization of the federal air traffic...
  • Listen to the combined Nov/Dec call with special guest Katherine Isaac of the Grand Alliance to Save the Post Office....
  • Listen to the October call as the team discusses the status of our constitutional amendments campaign, Glass-Steagall, and...