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.

from our Resource Library

For Education

  • Election Resources

    One of the best times to raise the issues of hunger and poverty is during election campaigns. Engage candidates in your state/district on hunger and poverty using our elections resources.
  • 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. 

  • Conflict and Fragility Are Hunger Issues

    Conflict is a main driver of the recent increase in hunger around the world and of forced migration. Hunger also contributes to conflict.

For Faith

  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

    “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in faith.” These words from Colossians 2:6 remind us of the faith that is active in love for our neighbors.

    The Bible on...

  • 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.

For Advocacy


African at Heart

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From the Blog