The relationship between the criminal legal system and housing access is undeniable. Ensuring that people have a roof over their heads is a public safety intervention: safe, stable housing reduces the chance a person will be arrested or jailed, reduces violence, and helps people successfully reenter their communities after leaving jail or prison.
Our police and jailing practices target and criminalize housing insecurity, and our entire system of surveillance and punishment—not just incarceration, but sometimes even just calling the police—can increase the likelihood of eviction and housing instability. For more details, download Partners for Justice’s recent report about how our criminal legal system drives homelessness.
Currently, the U.S. spends billions of dollars a year arresting and incarcerating people experiencing housing insecurity, cycling them in and out of jails. Breaking this cycle will involve investing in programs that help people secure housing while deliberately shrinking the criminal legal system in order to expand housing access.
Click below to read our full report.