Monday, September 9, 2013

Criminalizing Homelessness

If we start with the premise that law can be employed as a tool to shape society, then we should probably be disturbed about this report from Morning Edition on NPR.  You will hear as you listen to the story, that more municipalities are criminalizing homelessness and cracking down on churches and agencies that try to aid the homeless.  Rather than investing in shelters, soup kitchens, mental health and addiction services, the governmental response is to target the victim.  Is this the best use of law?  Is it an issue of justice or expedience? Can homelessness be "solved" by criminalizing it?

Business interest are a factor here as cities seem to be using these laws to try to clear the presence of the homeless from their downtown business districts. That raises other questions about the role of law.

The NPR story available at the audio link is very good.  Below is a video that might be used to complement the story.

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