If policymakers are not moved by hungry children and unfair consequences for communities of color, they should at least be persuaded by this: Bans on public benefits for formerly incarcerated individuals are counterproductive.
The mass incarceration of minority communities, and the resulting mass reentry and lifetime collateral consequences have created the "perfect storm" to ensure that criminal record based employment discrimination serves as a surrogate for race-based discrimination.
A recent study issued by the National Sheriff's Association and the Treatment Advocacy Center describes the shocking fact that there are now three times more mentally ill persons in American jails and prisons than there are in hospitals.
Efforts to balance state budgets are resulting in the premature release of prisoners. But little is being done to ensure that those who are released don't end up right back where they started, in prison.