Help the Homeless
San Francisco, CA has a smashingly stupid idea to revamp the way they deal with repeat offenders. The offenders are homeless men and women who have been cited by the police for public urination or "aggressive panhandling". Once a homeless person is cited for their infraction, a bench warrant is issued if she doesn't show up for court. It appears the police rarely enforce the warrants and the homeless men and women shrug off the citation. The court or police refer to the tickets as quality-of-life infractions
, as if that isn't ironic. Whose quality of life is getting impacted?
So, now some brilliant fool came up with the idea to round up the worst offenders and make them show up at court. Once in front of the judge they will be flogged with their indecent behavior, and then forced to choose between court or drug and alcohol counseling/treatment or housing. They want to make those inconsiderate homeless people accountable. Why not develop a system to step in before the arrest? One that does not tie up the court system or put another black mark on the person's life. Why not induce trained case workers who specialize in rehabbing homeless people? The difference between forcing and offering something reasonable is huge.
Surely, the courts and cops realize the issues getting in the way of a homeless person showing up in court to plead their case. Perhaps the point of the article and their upcoming enforcement of the law is that it does not matter who you are or where you live. But, I wonder if they want to clean up the problem because they care about the people or because they tired of complaints.
Anytime that we can help homeless people, I am for it. What concerns me in this issue it the option to go to jail, the idea that they arrest them first and offer help only when the homeless are between a rock and a jail cell. The current substance abuse system is flawed. If they want to actually rehabilitate they should not criminalize them first. There are so many issues involved in coming in out of being homeless that the regular population does not understand.
I am a huge advocate for giving a hand to someone who lost theirs. Homelessness is criminalized in our society way too often. It is also stereotyped way too much by the media, both the news and the entertainment industry. But, once you have walked in their shoes you will never see them the same. Too often others forget that the homeless are people, human beings. Let's help the homeless not criminalize them further.http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cg...