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Government agencies creating barriers for people with criminal backgrounds

It is already difficult to return to society after incarceration. However, additional barriers are set for people who have already paid their debt to society.

For example, many returning citizens rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to buy groceries. However the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) permanently bans anyone with drug, alcohol, tobacco, or firearms convictions from participating in the SNAP program.

Additionally, in Virginia, anyone convicted of any of the 176 "barrier" crimes are banned from working “direct care” jobs. For example, people with first-hand experience battling drugs cannot provide substance abuse counseling. It made it illegal for anyone to hold a job that involved helping others in similar positions as they once were.

All of these barriers threaten the successful reentry of formerly incarcerated people, can take away hope, and even affect their communities. Read more about how the justice system can have a huge impact on people’s lives by punishing them after release:

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