One mother is serving three years in jail in Mississippi. Her crime? She lied on her application to get food assistance for her family.
Via Think Progress, Anita McLemore is being put behind bars in federal prison for not admitting that she had previous felony drug convictions when she filed to try and get foodstamps for herself and her two children. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, McLemore’s prior convictions made her ineligible for apply for assistance in the state — although not in all states — so when she left off her crimes order to receive a little over $4000 worth of food stamps, she was caught and punished.
In fact, the judge went out of his way to provide her with the harshest sentence possible, despite the fact that she paid back the money she took. “[U.S. District Judge Henry] Wingate bypassed sentencing McLemore under federal guidelines that suggested she receive two to eight months in prison and would have made her eligible for probation. He instead sentenced her under a federal statute that carries a maximum five years in prison.’The defendant’s criminal record is simply abominable,’ Wingate said. ‘She has been the beneficiary of government generosity in state court.’”
Regardless of McLemore’s background and history, how exactly are her two children supposed to eat if she cannot get assistance? And, who will be buying their food when she is in jail beginning next year?
Photo from Olek Remesz (wiki-pl: Orem, commons: Orem) [GFDL 1.2 (www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)], via Wikimedia Commons