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COLLATERAL CONSEQUENCES



Increasingly, laws and policies are being enacted to restrict persons with a felony conviction (particularly convictions for drug offenses) from employment, receipt of welfare benefits, access to public housing, and eligibility for student loans for higher education. Such collateral penalties place substantial barriers to an individual's social and economic advancement.

 

Collateral Consequences News
October 2, 2014 (The Sentencing Project)
Felony Disenfranchisement and the 2014 Midterm Elections

As the 2014 midterm elections approach, an estimated 5.85 million Americans will be unable to exercise their voting rights due to a current or previous felony conviction. Of the total disenfranchised population, 2.6 million have completed their sentences, yet are disenfranchised in the 12 states with the most restrictive policies. Overall, 75% of disenfranchised individuals are living in the community, either under probation or parole supervision, or having completed their sentences. Disenfranchisement policies have potentially affected the outcomes of previous U.S. elections, particularly as disenfranchisement laws disproportionately impact communities of color, leaving one in every 13 black adults voiceless in the electoral process.


August 7, 2014 (The Sentencing Project)
Disenfranchisement News

National: Bipartisan Efforts for National Felony Disenfranchisement Reform

Wyoming: State Bill Could Restore Voting Rights to Thousands

Kentucky: Louisville Metro Council Unanimously Approves Resolution in Support of Automatic Rights Restoration


June 23, 2014 (The Sentencing Project)
Missouri Expands Eligibility for Food Stamps to Persons with Felony Drug Convictions

Missouri Governor Jay Neal has signed Senate Bill 680, which modifies the federal lifetime ban on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), for persons with felony drug convictions. Although the new law is a step in the right direction, it imposes a one-year waiting period after a conviction or release from custody.


June 23, 2014 (The Huffington Post)
States Undo Food Stamp Felony Drug Bans

The California Legislature has just passed a bill that will allow people convicted of drug felonies to receive welfare and food stamps. And last week, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) signed legislation lifting the state's ban on food stamps for felons.


June 11, 2014 (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
The link between felon disenfranchisement, politics, and health

About 7.7% of voting age African Americans are currently prohibited from voting compared to 2.5% of the U.S. population. Pennsylvania is among the more progressive states in this regard; only current prisoners are prevented from casting ballots, with 2.5% of the state’s African Americans (0.6% of all races) disenfranchised, according to the Sentencing Project. When the analysis is limited to males, who are far more likely to be imprisoned, it finds that 13% of African American men are disenfranchised nationwide. An African American male born today has a 1-in-3 chance of being disenfranchised at some point in his life.

If a group of people can’t vote, the politicians who care about their health needs might be less likely to win elections.