March 12, 2015

Bread for the World Welcomes Legislation to Help Returning Citizens Gain Employment

Bread for the World welcomes the anti-hunger and anti-poverty initiatives included in the Senate’s proposed Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment Act of 2015 (REDEEM Act).

The bipartisan bill allows those convicted of nonviolent crimes to ask the courts to seal their criminal records. They could then present themselves, according to the legal system, as lacking a criminal background. These measures would improve their chances of getting a job and, in turn, reduce the threat of hunger or recidivism.

“The REDEEM Act is a crucial step in allowing formerly incarcerated people the opportunity to rebuild their lives,” said Eric Mitchell, Bread’s director of government relations. “People who have spent time in prison are more likely to face unemployment and often face discrimination. They are thus less likely to have the resources to their families”.

Previously incarcerated people tend to earn less than average wages due, in large part, to their criminal history. Studies show that a prison record cuts wages for workers by 11 percent, cuts annual employment by nine weeks, and reduces yearly earnings by 40 percent.

Current laws permanently ban people with felony drug convictions from participating in such programs as the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called food stamps). Although some states have limited these bans, the REDEEM Act will lift these bans.

“We pray that our leaders would treat those who have served their time in prison as they would like to be treated, to give them the opportunities they would want in order to rebuild their lives,” said Mitchell. “The REDEEM Act provides a pathway to alleviate and eventually end hunger for some of the most vulnerable in our society.”

Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced the bill in the Senate early this week.

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

For Faith

  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

    A brief examination of the biblical approach to health as a hunger issue.

    Includes an introduction to the issue, a Scriptural reflection, practical actions you can take, and a prayer.

  • Sermon by David Beckmann at Duke University Chapel

    Remarks delivered October 1, 2017 at Duke University Chapel in Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

    Thank you for inviting me to preach here at Duke University Chapel. And I especially want to thank the Bread for the World members who have come this morning.

    Bruce Puckett urged...

  • Bread Newsletter January 2016

    In this issue: Another Great Year for Bread; Catholics Begin Observance of Holy Year of Mercy; Serving on ‘God’s Wave Length’ for 39 Years; and more.
     

For Advocacy

  • Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit

    A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.

    For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.

    Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.

    ...

  • Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017

    Unnecessarily long prison sentences, combined with the lack of rehabilitative programs for people in prison, exacerbate hunger, poverty, and existing inequalities.

    Overly harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences have contributed to the rapid increase of our country’s prison population. The...

  • Health Care Is a Hunger Issue

    Learn more about the principles that Bread for the World supports regarding health reform.