Prisoner Reentry: Food Assistance and Myth-Busting

Last Published: 12/15/2013

Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is participating in an inter-agency effort to help reduce recidivism and support formerly incarcerated individuals as they make the transition from prison to their communities. The effort, led by the Department of Justice, is called the Federal Interagency Reentry Council and is comprised of both a Cabinet level and a staff level workgroup, which are working to identify goals and forge partnerships to better reach out to this vulnerable population.

Federal Interagency Reentry council photoOn Wednesday, January 5, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder (center) convened the inaugural meeting of the Cabinet-level "Reentry Council" in Washington to identify and to advance effective public safety and prisoner reentry strategies.
Photo credit: U.S. Department of Justice

As a part of this effort, FNS has addressed common myths about drug felon eligibility for our programs and questions about the need for an ID and stable mailing address during the application process. FNS is also working with its state and non-profit partners to improve outreach and better support policies and initiatives that connect individuals with our programs during reentry.

Each year, more than 700,000 individuals are released from state and federal prisons. Support and assistance for formerly incarcerated individuals can help prevent recidivism and facilitate a successful reentry into society. To learn more about reentry and the Federal Interagency Reentry Council, visit the National Reentry Resource Center website at

Here are some great resources you will find on the website:

Reentry Mythbusters: a series of 14 fact sheets that provide information to dispel common myths about federal programs that may prevent formerly incarcerated individuals and their families from applying. Three of the fact sheets address common misconceptions about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) - informing readers that individuals convicted of a felony may still be eligible for program benefits, and that a state ID and stable mailing address are not required to apply.

Reentry in Brief: An overview document that provides a summary of some key reentry related issues, the Federal Interagency Reentry Council, and a roster of key staff contacts from each participating agency.