February 11, 2015

Senate Introduces Legislation to Ease Reentry Process for Returning Citizens

Today, the Senate introduced legislation that could help ease the reentry process for the formerly incarcerated. Mass incarceration is a hunger issue. For many returning citizens, the prospect of integrating themselves back into their communities is daunting, leading some to fall into poverty.

The Corrections Oversight, Recidivism Reduction, and Elimination Costs for Taxpayers in Our National System (Corrections) Act aims to reduce the prison population and offer a better integration process for returning citizens through the use of existing programs such as recidivism reduction, risk-based time credits, and drug treatment and mental health services.

“We agree with the senators that when inmates are better prepared to re-enter communities, they are less likely to commit crimes after they are released. This is an important step in addressing the mass incarceration problem that perpetuates cycle of hunger and poverty,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World.

The legislation, sponsored by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and John Cornyn (R-TX), would allow for certain low-risk offenders with exemplary behavior to spend the end of their earned-time credit under community supervision. Other provisions encourage those in prison to participate in recidivism reduction programs and other activities, like prison jobs, which can lead to the awarding of earned credit.

Still, many states still enforce life-time bans on non-violent drug offenders for safety-net programs, such as SNAP, (formerly food stamps) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), programs that are vital to many returning citizens as they look for work and try to rebuild their lives. Part of Bread’s work includes getting these bans lifted and ensuring people who qualify for these vital programs have access to them.

“While this bill is a good step, Congress must also address the larger issue of sentencing reform,” Beckmann said. “In addition to ensuring that prisoners have access to the skills they need to properly re-enter society, we must reexamine lengthy and inflexible mandatory sentences imposed on low-level, non-violent offenders, and implement alternatives to imprisonment where appropriate.”

The federal prison population has increased from approximately 25,000 in 1980 to nearly 216,000 today.

“African Americans and Hispanics are disproportionately incarcerated and tend to receive longer sentences than white defendants convicted of the same crime. A reform of our prison system must be guided by our moral obligation to truly give those who want a second chance an opportunity to succeed.” Beckmann added.

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

  • Feed the Future

    Feed the Future, launched in 2010, grew out of the U.S. response, led by President George W. Bush, to the 2007-2008 global food price crisis. Prices of basic foods doubled or tripled in some countries and pushed an additional 150 million people into hunger and malnutrition.

  • U.S. Hunger and Poverty State Fact Sheets

    These fact sheets provide a snapshot of hunger and poverty in the United States and in each state plus Washington, D.C. 

  • Hunger and Poverty in the African-American Community

    While hunger declined from 2017 for the general U.S. population, African Americans experienced a one percent increase, an increase of 153,000 African American households.

For Faith

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

  • In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

    This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-Af­rican people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.

  • 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...

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.

    ...

  • U.S. Hunger and Poverty State Fact Sheets

    These fact sheets provide a snapshot of hunger and poverty in the United States and in each state plus Washington, D.C. 

  • 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...

Field

Changing Climate, Changing Farmers

February 7, 2017

Insight

The Jobs Challenge

April 10, 2018

From the Blog