The Indiana State Senate approved a bill to make people with felony drug convictions eligible for food stamps.
Indiana lawmakers have taken the first step to change a discriminatory policy here in Indiana that allows those with previous felony drug convictions to be denied assistance from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), better known as food stamps. This would be following suit with more than 30 other states who have currently modified or opted out of the federal provision that implements this ban.
Current Indiana statute allows some drug offenders to receive SNAP, but Sen. Jim Merritt’s measure would open it to a larger number of people.
As we know, drug addiction is an illness and not the character flaw or lack of control many feel it is. People convicted of other felonies do not face a ban from food stamps like those with drug convictions do.
According to the bill, food stamp benefits would be available to offenders who successfully complete probation, parole or any other post-conviction stipulations of their felony.
Senators voted 34-16 for this bill to be sent to the full Indiana House for consideration.