Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 2012


In the current economy, the issue of homelessness is increasingly pervading the normal constructs of society. Thousands of men, women, and children struggle to find a place to sleep and enough food to satisfy their hungry stomachs. While many people suffer under these conditions, local governments continue to create new anti-homeless legislation to further eject them out of society. Bans prevent the homeless from urinating, sleeping, camping, and panhandling in public through fines and prison sentences. The laws specifically target the homeless, discriminating against them for actions which are necessary for daily survival. The legal system only further hurts this already destitute population rather than alleviating the problem. Thus, this paper looks at the numerous reports and case studies that evaluate the current criminalizing efforts in order to offer alternative solutions to this social injustice. The accumulating effect of constant segregation and punishment results in a constant cycle of homelessness and the dehumanization of certain citizens. By reevaluating the current trend of criminalization, local governments can actually assist the homeless and provide life-changing services rather than contributing to the discrimination. Handcuffing the homeless only exacerbates the social problem plaguing America.

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