Criminalization does nothing to solve homelessness

It seems that for almost every social problem that pops up, we turn to the criminal justice system. Suffering from mental illness? Here’s a cell. Struggling with drug dependency? Let’s throw you in handcuffs. Sleeping on the street? Here’s an arrest record.

And if you are a person of color, the criminal justice crackdown can be even worse.

How could it possibly make sense to saddle police officers and prison wardens with sole responsibility for helping people get a roof over their head? Or to task lawyers and judges with treating mental illness or helping people get sober? Simply making problems into “crimes” is just making things worse.

It’s 2014. We know better. Not only is all of this inhumane, it’s expensive. When our tax dollars are picking up the tab, it makes sense to put funds where they will make the biggest impact. Housing programs help solve homelessness. Treatment helps stabilize mental illness and end drug dependency. Arrests and jail cells just waste time and money.

We Over Criminalized in America. You can go to jail for any reason these days. And now, you can go to jail for being homeless. A law was just passed that makes it illegal for homeless people to sleep anywhere outside.

Watch this video!

UPDATE: It was just unanimously passed the anti-trash picking laws under the guise of protecting residents from identity theft. In practice, it is another overreach of police power that will lead to more attacks on the least fortunate among us. Criminalization without viable alternatives does nothing to address the root of the problem.

Are you awake Yet?

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