Monday, February 9, 2009

Homeless in Our Jail

The story speaks for itself, but when we have limited jailspace and limited dollars, using that precious jailspace to cycle homeless people through, again and again, for low level crimes just doesn't make any sense. (Needless to say, homeless people who commit more serious crimes, including theft, assault, etc., should be jailed accordingly.)

The Criminal Justice Commission is already working to solve this--particularly by doing a better job connecting those homeless people at the "front door" of our Justice Center into the homeless services that are out there. But the responsibility lays with both the criminal justice system, as well as the homeless services, to come up with a better way.

Doing so will improve safety, save taxpayer dollars, and improve lives.


The Dean of Cincinnati said...

A better way? How about permanent supportive housing?

Anonymous said...

A few years ago, the City of Cincinnati. at the request of DIC, pushed to remove the "unsavory" element in and aroung downtown - specifically OTR. This translated to physical arrests of panhandlers, prostitutes, and homeless individuals. The response shifted from a community problem to a jail overcrowding problem. It is now once again, a community what is our community response? Hopefully something more thoughtful and meaninful addressing the roots of these problems, rather than sweeping the issue under the rug.

Quim said...

I know this isn't a helpful comment at all, but why do we have both homeless people and peopleless homes ?
How do we learn to be a "society of abundance" ?

Paul Komarek said...

Cincinnati's mental health/recovery services board is doing a pretty good job of reaching into the justice system, to do post-arrest outreach.

However, I firmly believe that other pre-arrest diversion strategies need to be implemented as well. A "safe hand-off" facility is a major feature of Memphis' successful effort to reduce incarceration of people with mental illness.


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