How ex-cons add billions to food stamp costs
With their job prospects so dismal, they have little recourse but to join the already surging assistance rolls.
With more than 2 million Americans behind bars, federal, state and local governments shell out about $75 billion annually to keep them locked up. But the cost to taxpayers doesn't end there.
Because many employers refuse to hire people who have been convicted of crimes when their incarceration is over, it's likely that most of them rely on food stamps to get by, costing taxpayers an additional $4 billion each year, according to an estimate from the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
"If you were to envision that these people didn't have the black mark of a prison record, they would be getting more money or more hours or both," CEPR co-director Dean Baker told The Huffington Post. "A lot of people fall into that category."
While Baker noted that his estimate is rough, the difficulty that convicts face in the job market is substantial, with potential employers concerned about recidivism and crime. The recession made it even harder, increasing the competition for jobs amid a rise in the unemployment rate.
The U.S. Census Bureau is one major employer that has turned away people with records, banning some with felony convictions from working on the 2010 Census.
At the same time, the number of Americans receiving food stamps has surged, reaching 46.6 million last year at a cost of $78.4 billion. Only a decade ago, there were just 21.3 million recipients at a cost of $23.8 billion.
Some lawmakers are supporting legislation that would ban people convicted of murder, pedophilia and violent sexual assault from receiving food stamps. Already, 32 states ban people with drug felony convictions from receiving the benefit.
One offender told HuffPo that he went on food stamps after applying to 80 jobs and receiving 80 rejections. The only interview he got was at Yum's (YUM) Taco Bell.
"Food stamps was the only option," said James Cannon Jr., who now works at the advocacy group Take Action Minnesota. "That was something I never had to do in the past."
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
Food Stamps are one of the most abused and wasteful social program this country has ever developed. A family of four receives more money monthly then my family of five spends a month on food. The amount paid out each month should be cut by at least one third. Purchases by food stamps should be (if not already) restricted to the following: Fresh/frozen non prepared meats & fish, fresh/frozen non prepared vegetables, deli meats/cheeses, canned goods, breads, non sweetened dairy, and non sweetened juices. The following should always be banned, and processes need to be in place where not already, to restrict: Soda, bottled water, power and energy drinks, sweetened juices, coffee, tea, ice cream, candy, energy bars, any pre-prepared meals or sandwiches, snacks/junk food. If these rules would be followed, and recipients would learn how to shop and properly eat, no one would be hungry and we the taxpayers would save billions.
Another stupid, hack writer who can't do math. A single person in Ohio for example with zero earned income gets a whopping 39 to 93 dollars a month! How can this equate to BILLIONS? Can YOU eat even 2 MEALS A DAY for one DOLLAR? A typical Alaska family of 4 with an annual income of 15k gets a good deal more. BUT a 2 lb box of macaroni costs 7 bucks out in the villages.
Anyone who think that somebody other than the PAKIRATZ running INNER-CITY convenience stores (which PROFIT $50 on a $10 box of baby nappies sold as singles, "loosie smokes" and Non American Scum those who DEMAND [in broken English] 5 dollars for a gallon for outdated milk) are getingt rich on food benefits are sadly deluded.
I think we all agree that food stamps should be TEMPORARY and restricted to healthy non processed foods, so if we are in the majority how come it doesn't happen? Also, it is true that there is SO MUCH abuse of the system in so many different ways, if the program invested more money in anti fraud, it would cut the benefits by at least two thirds!
I think most Americans don't resent the program so much, they resent the abuse, lack of accountability and the lack of incentive to get off all government social programs.
This way they will have to commit more crimes to get food needed to survive.
Finally we will be able to use them in "Hunger games" for our amusement.
I just had this conversation with someone. When convict is released, the problem is their record. No one wants to hire someone who has a record the ones that want to get straight, can't get a job and other problems they have, they get discussed and feel desponded and can't get work. They will get into trouble so they will go back, they can't make outside, they know at least they get three meals and a place to sleep. They really feel safe in prison compared to the outside world. I know 2 people who did exactly that because of what they had to go through on the outside, and couldn't make it. sad................
For gods sake aimee. msn just ran an article yesterday on foodstamps.
keep doging and deflecting on a big issue that happened yesterday.
how about an article on democrats in the senate screwing college students with higher interest rates? or is that not important? would it be important if republicans in the house shut it down? i bet it would.
keep ignoring democrats screwing young kids today who want a higher education
If the death penalty was invoked quickly and for all crimes of violence or a weapon being used, we'd be free of having bto pay for all these dirtbags in the first place.
I never hired a convict and I never will. Can't trust them ant farther than you can throw them.
If the wanted to live with the rest of us they'd follow the rules in the first place.
Quit giving them 3 hots and a cot, free education and medical benefits. Let them die of their own self-inflicted diseases and throw the next ****er in on top of the dead carcass and see how they like living with what they created.
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