Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Jail or Homelessness?

One of my formerly homeless friend and I were discussing the relative benefits of prison to homelessness.

Among the chronic homeless, jail is seen as a "vacation".  Sure, it limits your freedom.  But it also gives you three meals a day, which is more than you'd often eat on the street.  You don't have to walk as much.  You are less likely to be threatened by guards than you are by the community or the police outside.  You have greater access to a toilet in jail. You have a much greater opportunity for sleep without being harassed.

Threat of violence: same
Religious freedom: same
Social/Isolation time: same

Frankly, in some communities, jail is much to be preferred.  If you are in St. Petersburg or Las Vegas, those cities have taken away the rights of the homeless to be fed.  Many communities don't provide public toilets. And most communities already treat the homeless as criminals (without proof), so the disrespect of being a criminal is the same.

So which would you prefer, jail or homelessness?


Anonymous said...

You need to read this.

Criminalizing Christ: The Nationwide Targeting of Homeless


Steve Kimes said...

Actually, I just read this. Good article. I just wish they hadn't of specifically targeted "conservatives" at the beginning of the article. Most homeowners and business of all types are in the "not in my backyard" mentality when it comes to the homeless.