During Obama’s administration, anyone could get welfare benefits. It was possible for people to commit terrible crimes, get out of prison and get benefits without ever lifting a finger. These days are, however, coming to an end under Trump’s administration, as he is going to limit those receiving benefits. The Department of Agriculture has announced a policy change this week in the way the national food program will be administered. Two groups of convicted criminals will not be eligible for the benefits as provided in Section 4008 of the 2014 Farm Bill.
The Department will now start being stricter about who is eligible for the program. The eligibility guidelines were updated three years ago, but have not been implemented up to date.
Section 4008 of the 2014 Farm Bill denied benefits to two groups: Those “convicted of federal aggravated sexual abuse, murder, sexual exploitation and abuse of children, sexual assault, or similar offenses under state laws, as well as those who are not in compliance with the terms of their sentence or parole or are fleeing felons, from receiving food stamps.”
The move is the fulfillment of Trump’s promise to scale back the nearly 43 million Americans on SNAP, which is expected to cost taxpayers $45 billion this coming fiscal year.
When someone commits a terrible crime that involves sexual abuse or harming children, then why should they receive any assistance when they’re released from prison? They’ve lost that right to government benefits.
Some might argue that if we don’t help people out of prison, then they commit more crime and return to prison, essentially costing the taxpayers money anyway. That’s a prison reform issue, not a “give criminals money for free” problem. Prisons need to be reformed so they teach prisoners skills that can get them a job. Prisons should rehabilitate people and turn them into contributing citizens, not release them in worse condition.
But again – that’s a prison reform issue. Prisoners convicted of terrible crimes should not be eligible for any free assistance from the government on the behalf of taxpayers. We pay our own way, so why can’t they?