For some offenders, getting back into society after spending time in jail is an uphill battle. Those who have been convicted on drug charges and sentenced to jail are often denied public benefits that would help them to get back on their feet. In Louisiana, for example, drug felons sentenced to prison were once banned from receiving food stamps for a year after their release from custody. According to one criminologist, this ban was a major obstacle for those who were genuinely trying to re-enter the community.
The criminologist feels that many drug users who are released from prison could make it if they had the right programs and treatment. Yet, the state incarcerates more citizens per capita than any other. This is believed to be because so many of the prisoners re-offend soon after getting out of prison. Some feel that this would not be the case if they were offered help to gain their footing.
Until recently, the only support that a newly released offender was offered was a bus ticket and $20 cash. For those who have no families, or whose families are also offenders, this makes it difficult not to re-offend, according to the report. This new law will make it possible for these offenders to be eligible for food stamps as soon as they are released.
While helping a client through his or her trial is the first priority of most criminal lawyers, those convicted of drug charges in Louisiana often fall through the cracks once the trial is over. This new law is expected to help with that. Of course, it is much better for the accused to avoid a conviction entirely, which is why many choose to consult with a criminal law attorney before going to court. A seasoned defense attorney can guide the client in the best way to proceed with the hope of obtaining an acquittal or other favorable result.
Source: wwl.com, "Drug felons will soon be eligible for food stamps", June 7, 2017