Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Texas Lawmakers Propose SNAP Benefits Pre-Release Registration for Formerly Incarcerated Individuals

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ( Photo: Marca )

Two Texas lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan bill that would allow for pre-release registration for SNAP benefits before an individual leaves prison.


Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ( Photo: Feeding Texas )

Texas lawmakers propose pre-release SNAP registration to reduce food insecurity for formerly incarcerated individuals reintegrating into society

The bills, filed by Texas state Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) and state Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) in the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, would change existing policy to allow individuals to access these benefits soon after release, ensuring access to critical resources needed to put food on the table for formerly incarcerated individuals and their families, and ultimately help support a successful community reintegration.

According to a researcher at UTHealth Houston School of Public Health on the San Antonio Regional Campus, formerly incarcerated individuals have double the risk of food insecurity than those who have not been incarcerated. The risk for adverse outcomes, including mortality and recidivism, is especially elevated in the initial days and weeks after an individual exits a prison or jail and begins reintegrating into the community.

During this challenging transitional period, a person is often low on money, without stable work, and does not have reliable connections established with housing, family, or other critical support systems.

The SNAP program helps alleviate food insecurity and poverty and helps improve health and well-being for individuals and their families. However, getting SNAP benefits approved after applying can take months, providing little relief for formerly incarcerated individuals needing support in the days and weeks after transitioning out of prison and back into the community.

These experiences can make it challenging to secure essential resources, including enough food to feed themselves and their family members

The legislation introduced by West and Leach has the chance to make a profound impact by reducing hunger and supporting the health of formerly incarcerated individuals in San Antonio and across Texas. With over 135,000 people in Texas prisons and over 300,000 on probation or parole, this sensible policy also serves as a template for future legislation in other states looking to support the food security of formerly incarcerated individuals.

Food insecurity is a substantial public health issue that impacts over 34 million people across the United States, including nearly 300,000 in Bexar County. The lack of consistent access to enough food to live an active, healthy life means people who are food-insecure face significant psychological and physical health disparities, including higher rates of depression, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and worse oral health.

Organizations such as the American College of Physicians have declared food insecurity a threat to public health in the U.S.

READ ALSO: Illinois Expands SNAP Benefits Program For Released Inmates

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *