Cities should end the aggressive enforcement of quality-of-life ordinances. Arresting, fining, and jailing homeless people for acts related to their survival is not only cruel; it also funnels formerly incarcerated people back through the “revolving door” of homelessness and punishment, which reduces their chances of successful reentry at great cost to public safety. – The Prison Policy
Why aren’t criminals receiving the proper resources necessary to be better civilians post sentence? Where is the compassion for humans that make mistakes? We all make mistakes. It’s in the statistics that criminals are likely to conduct crime when they lack the proper resources for basic human necessities. For those who are homeless and succumb to theft, for example, they are at risk of a felony charge and incarceration. A criminal record ensues lack of housing resources, decreased employment opportunity, denied supplemental benefits, loss of voting rights, restricted travel, and other state-based regulations. This kind of exclusion often puts an individual at risk of falling back in a place of desperate measure, where they are likely to commit crime again.
We find that people experiencing cycles of incarceration and release – otherwise known as the “revolving door” of incarceration – are also more likely to be homeless – The Prison Policy
Rather than a positive impact or life alteration of improved sustainability, the inequities of the criminal justice system amongst Black bodies plagues the collective longevity of Black lives–as the effects of incarceration during, and post incarceration exacerbate mental and physical instability.
Entering the prison system is a major reason people end up homeless. With nowhere to go at the time of release, and a system of policies that re-penalize them, many formerly-incarcerated people are forced into homelessness. Because Black people are over-policed, incarcerated at disproportionately high rates, and often receive harsher punishments, people of color are cycled directly from the criminal system directly into homelessness, in a way that white people are not. – National Alliance to End Homelessness
How can we expect the people in our community to feel empowered to be a better civilians through policies that restrict them of compassion and healing? What resources do we need to induce preventative measures necessary for reduced crime, and where is the post-incarceration support that is productive to sustaining Black lives?