Criminal Justice Reform and Hunger

Bread for the World believes that reforming our nation's criminal justice system is critical to ending hunger and poverty in the United States. Families are directly impacted when loved ones are incarcerated, especially if they are serving long prison sentences.

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 unable to provide care and income. In a study by the National Institutes of Health, 91 percent of returning citizens reported being food insecure.

Hunger is one cruel but avoidable result of a legal and penal system that incarcerates millions, disproportionately people of color. In fact, U.S. poverty would have dropped by 20 percent between 1980 and 2004 if not for mass incarceration.

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 that reduces mandatory minimum sentences, provides additional opportunities for educational and vocational training for those who are incarcerated, and expands access to re-entry services for the formerly incarcerated and their families.

The reforms should be aimed at:

  • reducing crime
  • rethinking sentencing
  • rehabilitating incarcerated individuals
  • ensuring people successfully re-enter their communities by reducing their risk of hunger and poverty

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 decrease.

Design by Doug Puller/Bread for the World

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

For Faith

  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

  • In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

    This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-Af­rican people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.

  • Sermon by David Beckmann at Duke University Chapel

    Remarks delivered October 1, 2017 at Duke University Chapel in Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

    Thank you for inviting me to preach here at Duke University Chapel. And I especially want to thank the Bread for the World members who have come this morning.

    Bruce Puckett urged...

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