Incarceration and Hunger

Bread for the World believes that our criminal justice system is broken. The evidence is growing that the system is not fair and impartial. The inequities in the system are stark and alarming. The brokenness of the criminal justice system leads to hunger and poverty. One part of the system — incarceration and its policies and practices — is a major, defined part of the system that Bread is addressing. Bread is committed to doing our part to end hunger and poverty in ways that advance justice. 

People returning from incarceration face daunting re-entry challenges, and the families of prisoners often struggle to make ends meet while their loved ones are not available to provide care and income. Hunger is one bad but avoidable result of a legal and penal system that incarcerates millions, disproportionately people of color.

Bread for the World’s work in organizing communities and individuals to speak up about hunger and poverty gets results! Photo: Laura Pohl / Bread for the World

Reforms through legislation

Bread advocates for legislation in this area to increase justice and reduce recidivism — a return to criminal behavior. Reforming our nation's criminal justice system is critical to ending hunger and poverty in the United States.

Congress must make meaningful reforms to our criminal justice system.

The reforms should be aimed at:

  • reducing the number of people who are incarcerated and eliminating bias that leads to discriminatory incarceration
  • treating incarcerated people humanely and in ways that increase the likelihood of successful reentry and reduced recidivism
  • better supporting re-entry
  • reducing the risk of hunger and poverty among people who have been in prison and their families

More specifically, Bread advocates for providing more opportunities for formerly incarcerated people to find work, making safety-net programs available to them, and encouraging their efforts to be with and support their families. If some of the legal and social barriers are removed for returning citizens, Bread believes hunger and poverty will go down. Also, children of incarcerated people need strong federal food programs to ensure they get good nutrition to sustain and build their futures.

Design by Doug Puller/Bread for the World

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

  • The Nourishing Effect

    Hunger and food insecurity add at least $160 billion a year to U.S. healthcare costs.

  • The Impacts of Proposed Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Cuts on the Latino Community

    To end hunger and poverty in the United States by 2030, our country needs to support a budget that improves the lives of men, women, and children. Unfortunately, the Trump administration and Congress are proposing dramatic cuts to programs that promote economic opportunity or provide food...

  • The Dream Act of 2017 (S. 1615 & H.R. 3440)

    Overview

    The United States is a nation of immigrants. Throughout its history, people have moved here from all over the world and have contributed to their communities and our national life. Today, as in the past, immigrants are also creating prosperity for this nation. 

    ...

For Faith

  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

    A brief examination of the biblical approach to health as a hunger issue.

    Includes an introduction to the issue, a Scriptural reflection, practical actions you can take, and a prayer.

  • Bread Newsletter January 2016

    In this issue: Another Great Year for Bread; Catholics Begin Observance of Holy Year of Mercy; Serving on ‘God’s Wave Length’ for 39 Years; and more.
     

  • Interfaith Religious Leaders’ Pledge to End Hunger

    A wide array of the nation’s faith leaders have come together on the eve of Pope Francis’ arrival in the United States to commit ourselves to encourage our communities to work for the end of hunger by 2030 and, toward that end, for a shift in U.S. national priorities.

    We are deeply pleased...

For Advocacy

  • Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit

    A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.

    For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.

    Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.

    ...

  • The State of Black Poverty: A Pan-African Millennial Perspective on Ending Hunger by 2030

    Over the past year and a half, about two-dozen young adults from the United States and countries in Africa and the Caribbean, have gathered virtually and in person to reflect on the effects of hunger and poverty in black communities. The working group has been considering socio-political and...

  • Fact Sheet: The Hunger-Medicaid Connection

    Congress is considering proposals that would jeopardize healthcare coverage for millions of poor and near-poor adults and children. 

    Legislation under consideration in the House and Senate would gut...