If you are convicted of a felony drug charge in Michigan, you may experience a number of interruptions to your life. For instance, it may be harder to retain custody of your kids or find adequate housing. You may also have a harder time accessing federal programs aimed at helping low-income individuals feed themselves and their families.
The programs you might lose access to
The two programs that are often out of reach of those with convictions for felony drug crimes are the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The SNAP program was formerly known as food stamps and helps individuals buy basic supplies to prevent them from starving. In some cases, individuals are banned from these programs for life regardless of what they do after serving their sentences.
Limiting access doesn’t work
According to a report from the Collateral Consequences Resource Center, limiting access to these programs doesn’t make communities safer. In fact, it may tempt people to steal food or other items that they need to survive. In some cases, parents will try to steal food or supplies for their kids. Currently, 20 states have SNAP bans for people convicted of felony drug crimes while 18 impose bans on TANF benefits for that same group. A bill has been introduced in Congress that would repeal the SNAP ban at the federal level.
If you are convicted of a crime, it doesn’t mean that you’ll face an assistance ban or other consequences. In fact, it’s possible that the conviction will be overturned on appeal, which means that any rights lost should be restored. There is also a chance that you’ll be acquitted of a felony drug charge.