House Republicans are attempting to sneak legislation into their proposed Farm Bill that would do away with food stamps under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for anyone previously convicted of a violent crime. Under the current law, SNAP benefits are only denied for individuals found guilty of a violent crime who violate their parole or terms of release. Denying food stamps to anyone convicted of a violent crime would affect up to 100,000 people per year, according to The Washington Post. The tougher restrictions on food stamps could also affect nearly two million working Americans who still depend on SNAP to make ends meet.
The Farm Bill, which is set to expire at the end of September, covers everything agricultural, from food stamps to subsidies and more. The bill is renewed every five years, and its policy implications are often far-reaching. According to ThinkProgress, about 70 percent of recently released convicts depend on SNAP benefits to help them get on their feet. By restricting access to SNAP, the House Farm Bill would put those recently released convicts in a more stressful and precarious situation, which could lead to recidivism. “A criminal record can also effectively ruin a family’s access to not only well-paying jobs, but private and public housing and a chance at escaping inter-generational poverty,” ThinkProgress notes.