Episode 8 of Lavender, Liberty & Lemonade addresses the criminalization of homelessness. Cities across the country use the criminal justice system to address the problem of homelessness by punishing folks for engaging in daily life preserving activities in public such as sleeping, sitting, eating, drinking, using the restroom or asking for change. The lack of permanent housing means that most of a person’s life is carried out in public places, which makes one very visible to law enforcement officers and unable to avoid violating these?laws. Consequently, during periods of homelessness people can, and often do,?accrue multiple arrests or thousands of dollars in fines for a range of behaviors directly caused by their lack of housing.
I was first introduced to the criminalization of homelessness as a student through my participation in the Social Justice Advocacy department at Stetson Law. Since becoming a Public Defender, I confront this issue virtually every day. Combining policy research with my experiences as an attorney for those who cannot afford one, the episode offers astonishing legal research peppered with the personal narratives of the lives directly affected by these measures—including an interview with a former client who narrowly escaped homelessness through the criminal justice system. With crippling costs to human beings and the communities who shun them, we explore one of the biggest burdens on our criminal justice system to-date.
To listen to the episode, check out our soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/lavliblem/the-criminalization-of-homelessness & you can also check out our sources and research for this episode, as well as our entire feed, by visiting http://www.lavliblem.com/