Investigators In Mississippi’s Harrison County are enforcing honesty as the best policy among those people receiving food stamps.
Cracking down on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), officials have already arrested 10 people accused of food stamp fraud. Investigators recently went door to door in Harrison County to find people who lied about drug convictions, their household income, and number of people living with them, reports Mississippi News Now.
"Once we get aware of something, then we obtain the proof as far as if it is a drug felon. Then, we'll obtain the court order to determine when they were actually convicted of the drug felon," Ken Palmer, the director of Fraud Investigation for the Department of Human Services, said to Mississippi News Now.
This crackdown has been greeted warmly by the community in Mississippi. While locals support the efforts of the SNAP program, they do not want to see it abused.
“I think that's good, because it is taxpayers’ money, and it also takes away money from those who really need food stamps and things," Theresa Strauss explained to the station.
"Well, I think it's good that they're cracking down on it. It's unfortunate for the families, but it's good that they're cracking," Laura Gevens, another local, remarked.
While officials have already arrested several people, the investigation for others committing fraud is still under way in Harrison County, according to Mississippi News Now.
This clampdown, however, comes not that long after nearby Texas passed a law that allows those with felony drug convictions to be eligible for food stamps. Previously, any person convicted of a drug felony was banned from receiving any SNAP benefits for life, reports Valley Central..
Rachel Cooper, senior policy analyst for the Center for Public Policy Priorities, told Valley Central that this prevents people "from being held hostage for a crime that they did and paid for decades ago."
However, those convicted again on drug charges will in fact be banned for their entire life, according to Valley Central.