Reduce Criminal Justice Involvement

An alarming number of Americans are caught in a revolving door between the streets, shelters, and jails. Roughly 48,000 people entering shelters every year are coming nearly directly from prisons or jails. Of the 11 million people detained or incarcerated in jails every year, as many as 15% report having experienced homelessness.

The Solution

Recognizing the role that federal leadership can play in breaking this cycle, the Council has outlined steps to reduce criminal justice system involvement among people experiencing homelessness, both by reducing the criminalization of homelessness and the return of people from correctional settings to homelessness. Specific action areas include:

  • Continuing efforts to combat the criminalization of homelessness
  • Increasing the training of law enforcement around interacting with people exhibiting psychiatric symptoms
  • Increasing access to jail diversion and alternatives to incarceration
  • Expanding evidence-based housing and services solutions like supportive housing for people caught in a cycle of homelessness and incarceration
  • Reducing barriers to housing, employment, and services for people with criminal histories