ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A pilot program was announced Monday morning to address food insecurity among those who used to be incarcerated.

The NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) teamed up with Columbia University, social services, and CUNY to use the SNAP pilot to address this issue. The program launched in 2021 at Queensboro and Edgecombe Correctional Facilities.

Daniel F. Martuscello III, who was appointed as acting commissioner of DOCCS, expanded the program to include the Sing Sing, Greene, Fishkill, Bedford Hills, and Taconic correctional facilities.

According to DOCCS, incarcerated individuals returning to New York City will be able to apply for SNAP benefits 30 days before they are released. If they are approved, they will have access to these benefits on the day of release.

“It is DOCCS’ mission to improve public safety by ensuring individuals returning to their communities receive supportive services that promote a successful transition,” said Commissioner Martuscello III. “In that vein, food insecurity due to waiting periods for SNAP is not a hurdle that releasees should have to face.”

Before the expansion, those who were released had to wait until they were released to apply for SNAP, which caused food assistance to be delayed to a maximum of 45 days.