Being homeless is not a crime, so why are so many jailed? | Samantha Sowerwine

You cannot solve social problems like homelessness, mental illness and substance dependence with the heavy hand of law enforcement

From 2012 to 2017, the number of people imprisoned in Australia grew by a third. This wasn’t in response to any crime wave, or any increase in crime at all. Over that same period, the United States has seen their prison rates fall.

What has been on the rise alongside this alarming trend is homelessness. Homelessness sits at the centre of a complex web of major social problems, including family violence, mental illness, racism, substance dependence and imprisonment.

Related: Cost of living pushing Australian workers into homelessness

Related: Homeless in Melbourne – the crisis an election can’t cloak

Samantha Sowerwine is principal lawyer with Justice Connect’s homeless law service.

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Source: The Guardian: Homelessness

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