Advertisement

American Journal of Criminal Justice

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 158–166 | Cite as

Criminal Justice System Involvement Among Homeless Adults

  • Jennifer Reingle GonzalezEmail author
  • Katelyn K. Jetelina
  • Madeline Roberts
  • Lorraine R. Reitzel
  • Darla Kendzor
  • Scott Walters
  • Michael S. Businelle
Article

Abstract

This study characterized the specific offenses for which homeless individuals are arrested and incarcerated. Data were gathered from 581 homeless adults across 6 Oklahoma City shelters. Participants were asked to self-report incarceration history, nights spent in jails and prisons, and the offenses for which they were arrested. Overall, 76% of the sample had ever been arrested. Fifty-seven percent of the sample had been to jail more than 3 times in their lifetime and 13% had ever intentionally been arrested. The most prevalent type of arrest was drug possession (35%), followed by driving under the influence (31%) and disorderly conduct or public drunkenness (28%). Violent arrests, such as assault, robbery, domestic violence, murder, and rape, were the least prevalent type of arrest. In summary, offenses were largely drug and status offenses. These offenses may be prevented through increased substance use treatment accessibility and availability of housing. Policies to increase employment and housing for homeless adults regardless of criminal history should be expanded to reduce the occurrence of justice involvement.

Keywords

Homeless Criminal justice Arrest 

References

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) (Vol. 5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  2. Bandiera, F. C., Atem, F., Ma, P., Businelle, M. S., & Kendzor, D. E. (2016). Post-quit stress mediates the relation between social support and smoking cessation among socioeconomically disadvantaged adults. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 163, 71–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Breslau, N. (2002). Epidemiologic studies of trauma, posttraumatic stress disorder, and other psychiatric disorders. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 47, 923–929.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brown, C. A., Hickey, J. S., & Buck, D. S. (2013). Shaping the jail inreach project: Program evaluation as a quality improvement measure to inform programmatic decision making and improve outcomes. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 24(2), 435–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Greenberg, G. A., & Rosenheck, R. A. (2008). Jail incarceration, homelessness, and mental health: A national study. Psychiatric Services, 59(2), 170–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Kushel, M. B., Hahn, J. A., Evans, J. L., Bangsberg, D. R., & Moss, A. R. (2005). Revolving doors: Imprisonment among the homeless and marginally housed population. American Journal of Public Health, 95(10), 1747–1752.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. McCarty, M., Falk, G., Aussenberg, R. A., & Carpenter, D. H. (2012). Drug testing and crime-related restrictions in TANF, SNAP, and housing assistance. Journal of Drug Addiction, Education, and Eradication, 8(2/3), 71.Google Scholar
  8. Metraux, S., & Culhane, D. P. (2004). Homeless shelter use and reincarceration following prison release. Criminology & Public Policy, 3(2), 139–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Metraux, S., & Culhane, D. P. (2006). Recent incarceration history among a sheltered homeless population. Crime & Delinquency, 52(3), 504–517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Michaels, D., Zoloth, S. R., Alcabes, P., Braslow, C. A., & Safyer, S. (1992). Homelessness and indicators of mental illness among inmates in New York City’s correctional system. Psychiatric Services, 43(2), 150–155. doi: 10.1176/ps.43.2.150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Novac, S., Hermer, J., Paradis, E., & Kellen, A. (2009). A revolving door? Homeless people and the justice system in Toronto. In J.D. Hulchanski, P. Campsie, S. Chau, S. W. Hwang, E. Paradis (Eds.), Finding Home: Policy options for addressing homelessness in Canada. Toronto: Cities Centre. Available at: http://homelesshub.ca/sites/default/files/7.1%20Novac%20et%20al.%20-%20Homeless%20People%20and%20Justice%20System.pdf. Accessed Aug 16, 2017
  12. Peters, R. H., Greenbaum, P. E., Edens, J. F., Carter, C. R., & Ortiz, M. M. (1998). Prevalence of DSM-IV substance abuse and dependence disorders among prison inmates. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 24(4), 573–587. doi: 10.3109/00952999809019608.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Robertson, M. J., Zlotnick, C., & Westerfelt, A. (1997). Drug use disorders and treatment contact among homeless adults in Alameda County, California. American Journal of Public Health, 87(2), 221–228. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.87.2.221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Somers, J. M., Rezansoff, S. N., Moniruzzaman, A., Palepu, A., & Patterson, M. (2013). Housing first reduces re-offending among formerly homeless adults with mental disorders: Results of a randomized controlled trial. PloS One, 8(9), e72946.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Spellman, B., Khadduri, J., Sokol, B., Leopold, J., Abt Associates, Inc. (2010). Costs associated with first-time homelessness for families and individuals. Washington, DC: US Department of Housing and Urban Development.Google Scholar
  16. Toro, P. A., Tompsett, C. J., Lombardo, S., Philippot, P., Nachtergael, H., Galand, B., et al. (2007). Homelessness in Europe and the United States: A comparison of prevalence and public opinion. Journal of Social Issues, 63(3), 505–524. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.2007.00521.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Weiser, S. D., Neilands, T. B., Comfort, M. L., Dilworth, S. E., Cohen, J., Tulsky, J. P., & Riley, E. D. (2009). Gender-specific correlates of incarceration among marginally housed individuals in San Francisco. American Journal of Public Health, 99(8), 1459–1463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Southern Criminal Justice Association 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Reingle Gonzalez
    • 1
    Email author
  • Katelyn K. Jetelina
    • 1
  • Madeline Roberts
    • 1
  • Lorraine R. Reitzel
    • 2
  • Darla Kendzor
    • 3
  • Scott Walters
    • 4
  • Michael S. Businelle
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental SciencesUniversity of Texas School of Public Health, Dallas Regional CampusDallasUSA
  2. 2.Psychological Health and Learning ServicesUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Family and Preventive MedicineThe University of Oklahoma Health Sciences CenterOklahoma CityUSA
  4. 4.Department of Health Behavior and Health Systems, School of Public HealthUniversity of North Texas Health Science CenterFort WorthUSA

Personalised recommendations