Convicted drug offenders now eligible for food stamps in Georgia

| April 28, 2016

georgia ebt

ATLANTA – On Wednesday Gov. Nathan Deal signed SB 367, legislation that provides for comprehensive reform for offenders entering, proceeding through and leaving the criminal justice system, into law.

The legislation was based on recommendations from the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform. Deal said signing the bill into law builds upon his previous criminal justice reform initiatives.

“This legislation is the latest step in advancing our criminal justice reforms,” Deal said. “Along with restoring the original intent of the First Offender Act, this bill increases access to charter schools in our prison system and seeks to address the ‘school to prison pipeline.’ If a minor enters the corrections system and is sent to a youth detention center, even just once, they are significantly more likely to offend again. We need to divert these children from a life of imprisonment and difficulty in order for them to lead a successful life. This bill makes great strides in reducing our recidivism rates, ensuring safer communities and expanding our accountability court system. The incentives included in this legislation are cost-effective strategies that will increase the number of former offenders returning to the workforce and supporting their families.”

According to the Georgia Department of Corrections, as a result of the reforms previously passed by the legislature, Georgia’s overall prison population has decreased to roughly 53,800 inmates as of March 31. The percentage of those incarcerated for a non-violent first offense has significantly dropped, and prison beds are now reserved for violent criminals.

Among other initiatives, this legislation:

  • Restores the intent of the First Offender Act, updating the process for the 21st century to ensure that cases are properly closed upon completion of sentences
  • Codifies Georgia’s accountability courts in order to grant them the authority they need to efficiently administer justice to those under their purview
  • Restricts secure detention for all youth ages 13 and under, except for those charged with the most egregious of offenses where a clear public safety issue exists
  • Adjusts public school disruption statutes so that students are appropriately handled through the disciplinary process rather than sent to a youth detention center or delinquent facility
  • Removes the lifetime ban on food stamp eligibility after a felony drug conviction, subject to the successful completion of their sentence and probation
  • Extends parole eligibility to non-violent recidivist drug offenders, allowing them the needed transition period for proper reentry upon completion of their sentences
  • Furthers last year’s executive order “banning the box” for most state government jobs, now expanding to licensure applications
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12 Comments on "Convicted drug offenders now eligible for food stamps in Georgia"

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  1. Robert says:

    Well, this makes complete sense. Here’s a great idea….let’s give them free money, to purchase drugs. SMH….not a smart bill at all.

    • Marlon says:

      Wow…… ignorance at is bliss how would you say something like that when all convicted drug offenders don’t have a d*** problem they probably just got caught that they will hold them for somebody and I didn’t got convicted and I got sentenced and day at a time it’s hard for them to find another job so they need help and out of a hundred percent 90% of them actually want food not for you to see what you said you are a true Donald Trump fan stay off this line ignorant person

      • John Taylor says:

        How about regular folks? Never offended anything, any law. Would just like some of that free money to buy food, groceries. Its expensive around here.

        Send me a Peach Card. I promise to use it on Food only. LOL

      • Robert says:

        Ignorance is bliss?? I don’t know…maybe because I’m a substance abuse counselor and I worked with convicted felons at VSP. If you have landed in the prison system, then 99.9% sure that you HAVE a DRUG problem. Apparently Marlon, you did not learn anything through any substance abuse session that you had. Denial at its best with you. If you were sentenced, then guess what….you were convicted. You don’t get sentenced without a conviction. I hear it all the time in my group sessions with substance abuse clients. I don’t have a drug problem. So let me guess….LE just came to your house, or wherever and just decided to arrest you for no reason? Then the judge just decided to sentence you without a conviction? You must be one of those that say there’s nothing wrong with marijuana and that it doesn’t affect anyone and that marijuana has not killed anyone like alcohol has. Also, most drug offenders have a fairly high recidivist rate. But then again, I guess my “ignorance” is bliss?? Yet those that truly need the assistance can’t get food stamps because they are hardworking people. In my opinion, the government should just get rid of food stamps all together.

  2. TRUTHBETOLD says:

    I worked on a dock with other grown men there was a guy who was 36 years old who was convicted of a felony when he was 18 years old he had never reoffended but he was not allowed to be employed by the company but he could work through a temp agency doing the same work with no benefits and making minimum wage he served his time served his probation how is he suppose to raise a family like that that’s why most people reoffend

    • Robert says:

      Unfortunately, that’s your employers right do place that policy. While some may view it as not right, it does happen all the time. That’s the problem with being a convicted felon and at 18, you’re just too young to understand this. Some mistakes are hard to undo and must be lived with forever.

      • TRUTHBETOLD says:

        You missed the point totally I guess that’s what comes with being a counselor you have your perfect world viewpoint and if anyone detoured from it its just too bad but let me tell you something there is something called life outside of the ivory tower and some people live in it daily yes people make mistakes when they are young but that doesn’t mean they should have to pay for the remainder of their lives heck adults make mistake too all I’m saying is if a guy cant work on a dock because of a drug charge the laws need to be changed we are not talking about letting a molester work around kids

  3. michael carver says:

    Need to get rid of nathan deal..im a disabled veteran who was turned down..hmmm something seems wrong

  4. Christine says:

    It’s really sad to see some of these post…for one,there are a lot of people that make a complete turnaround after being convicted. I myself am one. I had been on probation for 15 years for drugs, and I was not able to get food stamp. But god kept me and my kids from going hungry. It has been rough, but with what the state allotted them, we were able to survive. Yes I worked.. I sold dinners from my home because it was hard to get a job. Thank you Nathan deal…we all need this. We may not deserve it, but we need it.

  5. Donna says:

    I’m sorry but I think that its the right thing to do. Yea, there is the risk that some might trade for drugs but I’ve seen people trade them for just some crazy random crap too. And I’ve seen many people get them that did not need them because they had good jobs and other unclaimed incomes. So theres always gonna be someone somewhere thats gonna screw the pooch and be crooked, but stop throwing it all on us.I know everyone looks down on us drug felons as if we are the scum of the earth, but there are some of us that do change our lives around. I served my mandated sentence, I met everything that was required, and I finished it all earlier then it was scheduled. I’m working toward my 5th year clean and sober and today I have a personal relationship with God. The way I see things, I’ve come way to far to ever go back and my life is far better on my worse day now then it ever was on a good day when I was getting high. But we can’t constantly be defined by our mistakes if society wants us to make any type of progress and the only way is to give us some help. Now if they want to drug test recipients that receive them, go for it, I see nothing wrong with that stipulation for say like the first year of receiving food stamps. But stop putting drug felons down just because they screwed up and automatically assume they’re gonna sell them for dope. Don’t define us, help in the prowess of refining us. ✌✌✌✌✌✌

  6. Elyssa says:

    I do have to say that I extremely thankful this law was passed. Being a single mom of twins I am grateful to have food stamps for myself and my family. I work 40 hours a week and sometimes that isn’t enough to provide. We have all made mistakes and I am glad I have a second chance!

  7. Eric "Da Blacksheep" TrixNDix says:

    I don’t have much of an issue except with “banning the box”. Having been in positions where I hire people, I have found the “box” is a time and money saver. Let’s face it folks, not all jobs are for all people and it wastes employers’ time to spend hours on a candidate to find out you can’t hire them because they *insert offense here*. Good employers will overlook certain records and such anyways as long as people are upfront.