Criminalizing aspects of homelessness—like loitering, sleeping in public spaces, and asking for help—perpetuates a cycle of jailing and arrest for people without stable housing, according to an evidence brief from the Vera Institute of Justice. Low-level citations for these behaviors contribute to arrest rates 11 times higher than the general population, and after release from jail, people experiencing homelessness face more barriers to housing and employment. The MacArthur-supported report includes recommendations to break this cycle of incarceration and homelessness, including decriminalization, reforming probation to support people without stable housing, and addressing housing and employment restrictions for people who have been involved with the criminal justice system.
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