top of page

Welcome to Crime and Justice News

Advocates Seek End to Lifetime Ban On Drug Offenders' Food Stamps

Eighteen years ago, Kayla Tobey, then 22, was convicted of a "Class 4" felony, possession of a controlled substance. She completed her probation long ago, but is still being punished by a Nebraska law that imposes a lifetime ban drug offenders from obtaining food stamps, known as the “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” or SNAP, the Nebraska Examiner reports. “SNAP would be such a great stepping stone to help me get the stability I need to keep my kids happy and to move forward in my career,” said Tobey, a working mother of two children and a part-time student. On Friday, Tobey joined others at a press conference in calling on the Nebraska legislature and Congress to pass bills to lift the ban on people who have moved on from past drug use. “We continue to see the harm that results from the unnecessary lifetime SNAP ban,” said Eric Savaiano of Nebraska Appleseed, which advocates for the poor.

The ban, he said, not only prevents community members from accessing nutritious food for their families but also causes “other negative consequences.” Under Legislative Bill 88, introduced by State Sen. Megan Hunt of Omaha, persons convicted of a felony involving the possession, use, or distribution of a controlled substance would no longer be ineligible for SNAP if they have completed their sentences. The ban would also be lifted for those serving out a term of parole, probation, or post-release supervision. U.S. Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) is a co-sponsor of a proposed federal Restore Act that would do the same thing. Jasmine Harris of RISE, which helps inmates transition back to society, said there is no public safety or crime-deterrent value from the lifetime ban. “Instead, enforcement of the ban only compounds hunger and poverty that contribute to enormous barriers to successful transition to the community,” she said.


Recent Posts

See All


A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

bottom of page