JACKSON, Miss.— Mississippi will start allowing people with felony drug convictions to apply for federal food assistance.
The Clarion Ledger reports the new policy takes effect July 1 and could affect as many as 67,000 people.
Lawmakers approved the change in a bill aimed at reducing recidivism and shrinking the prison population.
A 1996 federal law put a lifetime ban on people convicted of state or federal drug felonies from receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. However, state legislatures could opt out of the ban.
Mississippi, South Carolina and West Virginia were the only states that had not opted out.
Republican Sen. Sally Doty of Brookhaven pushed for the change, saying she saw “no reason to treat drug felons differently than those with violent offenses.”