top of page

Hidden Homeless: How Criminalizing Homelessness Leads To Slavery!

Even though the homeless are the hardest hit by Climate Change, Is The Long Term Plan to Turn the Land of The Free Into The Land of The Debt Slave?



Ending homelessness is deeply connected to climate justice. When natural disasters strike, people with the fewest resources are most likely to be impacted and left without a place to live for the foreseeable future.


A ruthless effort to criminalize homelessness while attacking best practices like Housing First is gaining traction in state legislatures across the country. Every day in America, people experiencing homelessness are threatened by law enforcement, ticketed, and even arrested for living in public spaces when they have no other alternative. Without immediate action to mitigate the impacts of climate change, more displacement, increased harm, and loss of life will disproportionately impact marginalized communities, communities of color, and people living in poverty – and will therefore result in increased homelessness.


Millions of individuals, families, and youth experience homelessness each yea and millions more lack access to decent, stable housing they can afford. Rather than providing adequate housing options, too many communities criminalize homelessness by making it illegal for people to sit, sleep, or even eat in public places, despite the absence of adequate alternatives. Several states have already enacted bills along these homelessness criminalization lines, including Texas, Tennessee, and Missouri. Other states like Arizona and Georgia managed to fend off bad legislation last year, but new proposals are being introduced this year. One of the biggest ironies is that if you are a homeless illegal immigrant you will get monetary aid but if you are a homeless citizen you will be incarcerated!


These laws and policies violate constitutional, civil, and human rights, traumatize homeless individuals and negatively impact their physical and mental health, and create arrest records, fines,

and fees that stand in the way of homeless people securing jobs or housing. Yet providing affordable housing and services has been repeatedly proven to cost less than criminalizing homelessness and be more effective at getting and keeping people off the streets


There are even legislators who wish to make being homeless a felony. The goal being to Unhouse you, disable you ,incarcerate you and then within the prison system use your forced labor! Prison labor has been a part of the U.S. economy since at least the late 19th century. And today it's a multi-billion-dollar industry with incarcerated people doing everything from building office furniture and making military equipment to staffing call centers and doing 3D modeling. But even so, this industry is not well-understood. Incarcerated workers are not included in official employment statistics and that is most likely by design.


The case with many incarcerated people is there wages of about $2.25 a day tend to get eaten up by paying for simple services. Most of the money earned goes towards paying for things like phone calls, which could cost upwards of $5 per call or items from the canteen, like a bag of Doritos, which might be $5. Many incarcerated might spend an entire day's pay on one stick of deodorant. - these items and services that are often provided by private for-profit companies who split the revenue with the prison itself many prisons will take items donated to prisoners and sell them to them instead. In addition to the low pay, the work is often grueling, and there is little attention paid to the well-being of the workforce.


Even a prisoner diagnosed with HIV right would have days where they physically did not have the energy to stand and work in the kitchen for 12 hours. But they have to work. You don't get days off. You don't get to have sick days. And if you don't go to work, it is a rule violation.


Making the homeless indentured servants is entirely workable in the US prison system which contrary to popular belief has a higher white majority than the national demographic! Even though, in a lot of cases, it is technically voluntary, there can be serious consequences for people who refuse to work or who advocate for better working conditions because a lot of prisoners use working as a way of having their sentences reduced. And so if they can't work, that can't happen. So they have to serve a longer period of time than they otherwise would have. On top of that, refusing to work can also land you in solitary confinement for weeks or even months. Those who refused to work could be placed in a housing unit, where drug use, mental illness, rape and physical violence run rampant, as a form of punishment.


In addition to doing the work of maintaining and operating the prison, itself incarcerated people are often contracted to work for outside agencies, corporations, or even private companies.


Comments

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page