Consequences of Federal Restrictions of Economic Benefits on Drug Offenders

Kimberly Zoche, Florida State University

The proposed paper will explore sanctions that have been placed against convicted drug offenders, particularly those that restrict access to financial assistance. There are two major laws that have been passed in the 1990s that will be a central focus of this paper. The first is section 115 of Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, which requires any individual convicted of a felony drug charge to be barred permanently from receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Fammilies or food stamps. The second restriction is the Drug Free Student Loans Act of 1998, which denies federal grants, loans and work study to college students who have been convicted of any drug offense. These laws unfairly targeted a portion of our population which is the most in need of these programs which can move them from a life of habitual offending to a law-abiding future. This paper will critically assess these programs and examine other substantive issues such as future policy concerns and alternative solutions to the problem.

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Updated 05/20/2006