This State Literally Wants To Treat Welfare Recipients Like Criminals With Mandatory Fingerprints

by  –

The state of Massachusetts is actually strongly considering implementing a fingerprinting system that will keep track of all welfare recipients within the state.

Yes, you read that correctly — liberal Massachusetts.

A couple months with a Republican governor and all hell breaks loose. And yes, this “solution” to alleged welfare fraud is coming from the House Minority Leader, Republican Brad Jones — what a peach.

Jones wants the state Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Transitional Assistance to clamp down on welfare recipients by implementing a fingerprinting system as well as other biometric identifiers. He said:

“We’re losing millions of dollars a year to people who are gaming the welfare system.”

So, of course, the obvious solution would be to treat all welfare recipients like criminals. God forbid he ever need assistance during a troubling time in his life and needs a little help just to get by and, you know, eat.

State Rep. Jose Tosado (D), feels that fingerprinting is punishing all those who really need the system. He said:

“Mandatory fingerprinting criminalizes the poor and the hungry, creating deep stigmas that follow individuals trying to get by and want to become productive members of the Commonwealth. There are also concerns with storing and using data against individuals who would otherwise have no reason to have their fingerprints or other physical indicators on file. The risks far outweigh the benefits in the long-term.”

Managing attorney of the welfare-law unity at Greater Boston Legal Services, Melanie Malherbe, said:

“All governmental programs have some level of abuse, but welfare recipients seem to be singled out, as if there’s some moral failing in being poor… It’s just a reflection of the hostile attitude toward welfare recipients. But the reality is that these are people are no more likely to be engaged in criminal activities than anyone else “

And that’s just it — the poor are being singled out because they are an easy mark to blame for money being mismanaged. Where’s the scrutiny over mismanaged funds in other areas of the state, or even the nation for that matter?

Is there welfare fraud? Of course there is. There will always be people who try to play the system to get more money. However, implementing a fingerprinting system, one similar to how police book arrested criminals? No. That’s not okay by any reasoning. There must be smarter thinking in how to make sure benefits are only going to those who need them. One of the methods that was approved not long ago was adding photos on the electronic benefit card, like those that can be found on some credit cards.

According to The Salem News:

“Fingerprinting is a controversial means of cracking down on fraud. Recent studies suggest the practice is often too expensive and does little to stem abuses in state-level public assistance programs.

North Carolina is studying a similar proposal for a new state ID program, but several states that had fingerprinted welfare recipients as far back as the 1990s — including Texas, Connecticut and New York — have stopped the practice, according to published reports.

States that abandoned the program cited cost and little evidence that it curbed abuse.”


What this fingerprinting scheme is, is just another way to demonize the poor for being poor. There are always ways to crack down on abuse and fund mismanagement without treating all recipients like criminals just for needing assistance.

Republicans time and time again will shell out subsidies to already thriving corporations, or give tax breaks to the already wealthy, and have a social security system that doesn’t require the wealthy pay after a certain amount — but when it comes to poor people… no, they’re the ones gaming the system, right? They’re the reason money isn’t there. Right? — Wrong.

Hopefully, this fingerprinting poppycock will be voted down by logically thinking, sane adults who don’t seek to blame the poor for all their problems.


Reprinted with permission from Addicting Info