Reed’s efforts make starting over tougher

Editor, OBSERVER:

We applaud U.S. Rep. Tom Reed’s commitment to using limited taxpayer dollars to help people get back to work. Unfortunately, his amendment to the Farm Bill being considered in Congress would do just the opposite for people returning home from prison, making it harder for them to transition into productive, law-abiding lives.

Rep. Reed’s amendment, which was included this summer in the House-passed bill, would deny food stamps for life to anyone convicted of certain violent offenses, in addition to the current ban on persons convicted of a drug felony. It would also result in lower food assistance benefits for children and other family members in the households of such individuals. Such restrictions ultimately threaten public safety by making it more difficult for parents to support their children.

People who have served time in prison face a multitude of hurdles upon release. Safety net cuts may be inevitable, but stripping formerly incarcerated individuals and their families of food assistance is a counterproductive place to start.

JEREMY HAILE,

federal advocacy counsel,

The Sentencing Project,

Washington