A program designed to help ex-felons who served time for drug offenses went into effect September 1st in Texas.
Texas soon will allow tens of thousands of residents convicted of drug crimes to receive food assistance from the federal government, joining almost every other state in ending a ban that once covered the entire nation.
Legislation approved during this year's legislative session will make Texas the 44th state to opt out of the ban, which former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, inserted into President Bill Clinton's 1996 welfare reform package.
The change could help many of the 56,860 Texas residents currently on Community Supervision for drug offenses, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and many more who already have cycled out of parole.
Morning fearmongerer, Brian Kilmeade presented the story with the intro,
'Hey, thousands of felons are receiving food stamps ON YOUR DIME.'
He interviewed a run-of-the-mill Texas Republican, Matt Rinaldi, who represented the compassionate Conservative opinion that giving aid to the downtrodden is just enabling them. Rinaldi identifies as a Roman Catholic, who apparently eschews the Gospel of Jesus. He identifies with the Tea Party, who wants stronger border security and expanded Second Amendment rights.
The other guest, Jeff Smith, a former Missouri Democrat who served one year in prison for campaign finance violations, represented the radical perspective that people need help getting back on their feet after serving prison time, much like the teachings Jesus Christ preached. By helping them feed themselves with S.N.A.P. assistance, they will be less likely to resort to old ways and prevent prison recidivism. Smith authored a book entitle Mr. Smith Goes To Prison. He is an anti-mass incarceration activist, likely due to his insider perspective.
Rinaldi gave the usual shtick, why should drug dealers get aid when single mothers, who have done everything by the book, are getting the same assistance?
'We should be raising our standards for welfare, not lowering our standards.'
He cites a statistic that the recidivism rate of drug felons is 75%, but that's without any assistance. Smith explains that the rate is no different than the general population, if the offender doesn't repeat in three years. With food assistance, the likelihood of the felon to repeat crimes is lower. The stigma of a conviction can prevent offenders from ever gaining employment, so what else would they do to survive?
Kilmeade did try to interject a new phrase into English. He said,
once someone is able to get food over their head, they can focus on their rehab and get acclimated back into society.
Did he pull that from the George W. Bush's DubyaSpeak, where you can find gems like, 'you have to put food on your family?'
It was surprising that Kilmeade allowed an actual compassionate person to give a rational opinion. This was a rare occasion where Fox was somewhat fair and balanced. This program is a refreshing change from detrimental, costly and ineffective programs like Scott Walker's hair-brained idea to drug test welfare recipients. This is a policy that actually works.