Friday, August 22, 2014

Poverty, Homelessness & the Criminal Justice System

In the Public Eye: Addressing the Negative Impact of Laws Regulating Public Space on People Experiencing Homelessness
"In a new report, In the Public Eye, author Lucy Adams of Australia’s Justice Connect...elevates the conversation and challenges readers to understand and respond to the issue of criminalization using tools and solutions-based approaches." (Amy L. Sawyer, USICH Regional Coordinator)

The Hidden Ways Urban Design Segregates the Poor
"There's a name for uncomfortable benches, hard-to-reach parks, and ubiquitous surveillance: Disciplinary Architecture.

A few weeks ago, news emerged that a New York building was planning a separate entrance for residents of its low-income units--"poor doors." Outrage ensued, but the truth is, urban design that tries to segregate well-off from welfare is nothing new. Before poor doors there were anti-homeless spikes, pay-per-minute benches, public spaces secluded behind private infrastructure, and more."

The Economics of Police Militarism
"...On Thursday, Jelani Cobb filed a powerful account from the sidewalks and homes of Ferguson. Cobb asks about 'the intertwined economic and law-enforcement issues underlying the protests,” including, for instance, the court fees that many people in Ferguson face, which often begin with minor infractions and eventually become “their own, escalating, violations.' 'We have people who have warrants because of traffic tickets and are effectively imprisoned in their homes,” Malik Ahmed, the C.E.O. of an organization called Better Family Life, told Cobb. “They can’t go outside because they’ll be arrested. In some cases, people actually have jobs but decide that the threat of arrest makes it not worth trying to commute outside their neighborhood.'"

Get Out Of Jail, Inc.
"On a cold November afternoon, Harriet Cleveland, a forty-nine-year-old mother of three, waved me over from the steps of her pink cottage in Montgomery, Alabama. She was off to her part-time job as a custodian at a local day-care center.... We’d need to start walking soon, she explained. The job, which paid seven dollars and twenty-five cents an hour, was the only one she’d been able to find for some time, and was four and a half miles away. As we set off..., she recounted the events that had led me to her doorstep: her arrest and jailing for a string of traffic tickets that she was unable to pay. It was, in part, a story of poverty and constraint, but it was also a story of the lucrative and fast-growing 'alternatives to incarceration' industry."

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