A bill heading to the House Floor would lift the one-year ban for individuals convicted of a drug-related felony to receive food stamps and welfare benefits after being released from prison. New Orleans Representative Helena Moreno says the ban was originally placed as a deterrent not to commit drug related crimes, but it hasn't worked.
“To be able to provide people coming out of corrections with the help that they need so that they can be successful people within our community.”
This measure is part of Governor John Bel Edwards’ legislative agenda on criminal justice reform. Moreno says her bill is common sense legislation particularly since only a small group of individuals are affected by the current law. She says these convicted felons need a little boost.
“So that they don’t recidivize and end up back in corrections so that is what the bill does, it’s very simple, I think it’s a common sense bill.”
Currently, only six other states have legislation similar to Louisiana’s where these felons are not permitted to receive food stamps. Executive Director of the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops Rob Tasman spoke out in support of the measure. He says they are passionate about the issue of inmates returning as citizens.
“Once those who were formerly incarcerated reenter society, trying to make sure that they have the opportunities and abilities before them so that they can be successful.”