A provision of the welfare reform legislation passed by Congress in 1996 subjects an estimated 180,000 women to a lifetime ban on welfare benefits, according to a report released today by the Sentencing Project, an advocacy group.
The “Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act” (PRWORA) imposed a denial of federal benefits to people convicted in state or federal courts of felony drug offenses. The act gave states the discretion to opt-out of or modify the ban; there are currently 12 states have that impose the ban in full.
Using data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, researchers for the Sentencing Project estimated the ban's affect on women with felony drug convictions in states where the ban is fully implemented.
“In 2009, 85.9 percent of adult TANF recipients were women; women are also about twice as likely as men to receive food stamp benefits at some point in their lives,” researchers wrote.
The report recommends that states adopt policies to opt out of the ban's provisions in full or in part, and that Congress repeal the ban.
Read the full study HERE.