No More Double Punishments: Lifting the Ban on SNAP and TANF for People with Prior Felony Drug Convictions

Successful reintegration into society following engagement with the criminal justice system depends on being able to meet basic needs including those for food, shelter, and medical care, as well as having access to employment and training programs. According to this brief, TANF and SNAP are critical programs that help people meet their basic needs. However, people who have been incarcerated usually face significant challenges and are frequently disqualified from receiving benefits from these programs. Public assistance such as TANF and SNAP consistently reduces recidivism, while banning access to assistance has been linked to increases in recidivism. Lifting the ban on safety net supports reduces material hardship for formerly incarcerated people, who are exceedingly paid low earnings, and also helps their families. The brief includes a discussion of which states have lifted or modified the ban and highlights one state that had previously lifted the ban and then partially reinstated it.

Record Type: 
Research-To-Practice Brief
Publication Date: 
April, 2022
April 2022
Partner Resources
  • Supportive Services
    • SNAP/Food Assistance
  • Special Populations
    • Incarcerated and Individuals with a Criminal Record
  • TANF Program Administration