Established in 1996, President Bill Clinton's welfare reform law placed a lifelong welfare ban on drug offenders but not any other felons. To this day, many men and women exiting prison don't have access to certain forms of government assistance.
According to information compiled by the Marshall project, 18 states have abandoned the federal prohibition on drug offenders receiving food stamps and 26 states eased restrictions and provide benefits if the recipient complies with parole and other requirements. Six states still fully enforce the ban: Alaska, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
"Individuals who have arrests and convictions for drug offenses are sentenced to prison or probation. This policy—restricting people from accessing public safety benefit programs—is not part of the sentence," Nicole D. Porter, director of advocacy at The Sentencing Project, told Take Part.
Do you think people with felony drug convictions should have access to food stamps? Weigh in below:
The issue of drug abuse and welfare has been connected in many debates. Recently, many states spent huge sums of money to drug test welfare recipients to make sure they weren't wasting government money on drugs. But the states found out something they weren't expecting -- the recipients rarely use any drugs.
Click through to see which states give drug tests to welfare recipients:
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