Chapter

California and the Welfare and Food Stamps Ban

All of Us or None

in Interrupted Life

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780520252493
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944565 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520252493.003.0076
California and the Welfare and Food Stamps Ban

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California is one of seventeen states that deny welfare and food stamps for life to people who were convicted of a drug felony after August 22, 1996. As a result of this policy, more than 2,289 people in need in Alameda County who have applied for food stamps have been denied. Nationally, 30 percent of incarcerated women were receiving welfare in the month prior to their arrest, and these women are likely to require public assistance after their release. By taking away the supports that former prisoners need to make the transition from prison, the government encourages recidivism, breaks up families, and perpetuates a discriminatory system of imprisoning the poor, who are disproportionately people of color. California's drug felony exclusion policy is harmful and unnecessary. The 1996 federal welfare act allows states to opt out of the ban. The California legislature is considering a bill that would restore food stamp eligibility to people who have prior felony convictions of drug possession.

Keywords: California; welfare; food stamps; ban; drug felony; Alameda County; incarcerated women; people of color

Chapter.  661 words. 

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality

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