The Senate unanimously voted last Wednesday to make ex-convicts who were convicted of violent crimes ineligible for the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), better known as food stamps. Robert Greenstein, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, quickly called the move racist.
“Given incarceration patterns in the United States,” Greenstein said, “poor elderly African Americans convicted of a single crime decades ago by segregated Southern juries would be among those hit.”
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 1 in every 15 African American men are imprisoned, while only 1 in 106 Caucasian men are serving time.
Under current law, only drug felons are ineligible for food stamps, though some states have amended the law or opted out of it. If the bill is passed, sex offenders and murderers would be added to the list.