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An Increasing Number of States Allowing Food Stamp Benefits to Drug Felons

Currently, there are 26 states that maintain a "partial ban" on issuing food stamps to drug felons. One state is North Carolina. This means that people convicted of low-level drug felonies, mostly involving possession, are usually approved without problems.

All they need to do is go through a six-month probationary period before receiving food stamps and then meeting with a licensed substance abuse counselor. Those with high-level felonies do not qualify for food stamps.

North Carolina also bans people from receiving food stamps if they've been convicted of a felony drug offense in another state. Cathy White, a substance abuse counselor, said that drug felons must demonstrate a willingness to kick their habits, and must participate in an abuse counseling program through the state's Department of Social Services.

White went on to say “I would say about 65 percent of the people I see were using, and maybe 30 percent were dealing. You also do have a small percentage of folks who [were] just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Democratic state Rep. Senfronia Thompson of Texas told the Chronicle "It isn't about rewarding people convicted of crimes. It's about making sure that they do not become repeat offenders, and to do that, we need to give them some help."

Photo: Room For Debate

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