By Jeanie Donovan
To promote the successful rehabilitation and reentry of ex-drug offenders, Texas must join the 41 states that have passed legislation eliminating or modifying the ban that prevents former drug felons from receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, is a federally funded nutrition assistance program that serves over 3.5 million Texans, including nearly 2 million children, as well as working poor, disabled, and elderly adults. It is the main public program to combat hunger and provide nutritious foods for low-income families and individuals. The program has no restrictions on individuals who have committed felonies, including violent crimes and sexual offenses, with the exception of those who have committed a drug-related offense. Any individual who has been convicted of a drug-related crime since 1996 is banned from receiving SNAP for life in the state of Texas. This outdated ban is counterproductive to helping former offenders reintegrate into society, feed their families, and avoid recidivism.
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