If you were homeless, would you put yourself in jail?

100 posts

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Ok, so I’ve never been in a minimum security prison. Well, that’s not true, but I was in 4th grade and they took us on a tour. I think it was a bad choice – we saw the inmates watching TV and playing basketball. In retrospect, it probably didn’t do much for deterrence.

Anyway, perhaps I’m way off in my impressions. But I’ve always wondered why more homeless people don’t go commit some petty crime, plead guilty, and then get themselves put into jail (or even just threaten to do so unless jailed)? Wouldn’t that be better than living on the street? You get food, shelter, exercise, entertainment… Am I missing something? Should the homeless population try forcing our hand into helping them? Wouldn’t this make a cool short story? Hmmm…

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Well, I don’t think its to good of an idea for our homeless population to decide that they want to go to jail.

First off that would cost money, which in America, we don’t really have since someone spent it all on a war that we shouldn’t be in anymore.

Second it wouldn’t very good to have petty criminals running around the streets, and when their sentence was done, if they liked jail more they would probably do something more drastic to increase sentence time.

And Third, Theres no freedom in jail, your stuck there. Every thing’s routine and you cant change anything about it. When your homeless at least you can walk around, go see things, scrounge, and be able to do almost anything you want.

So do I think homeless people should go to jail?

If they really want something on their record, and have less of a chance to get a job…

I actually talk to homeless people by the CVS around my neighborhood, and a couple of homeless people go there, to sit and drink, so next time I’m there ill ask them what they would prefer.

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Well homeless people get food and money from the government so I would have to say that if I was homeless I would chose to stay on the outside (less sodomy out there). Besides you can’t beg for money for beer inside a prison.

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Hmm – perhaps it depends on the level of poverty. I’ve got to think that at some point though jail is better than having no shelter or food on a cold December night. Then again, maybe they all know how to take care of themselves better than I’m giving them credit for. Or perhaps soup kitchens and free inns (we have a place called the Samaritan Inn) serve this purpose well enough? I really am rather ignorant on the subject, I’ll admit that freely.

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Jail looks more comfortable to those with homes, but many homeless people prefer the freedom of the streets, or at least think they do. It depends on where they live, but many try not to get caught in places where the December nights are actually frigid. Last time I watched a special on homeless teen run-aways it focused on San Fransisco, where apparently they get free health care including prenatal care if they are pregnant. Not too shabby!

If things get real bad on the streets (irreconcilable beef with other homeless people in your neighborhood! yikes!) jail is one decent way to get yourself into protection for a little bit. But I think most homeless would prefer to retain their independence when strictly given the choice.

I personally would rather stick to the streets and probably do my best to migrate north/south based on the seasons. I’ve met many homeless folks in my day, and was most impressed by a fellow who had built himself a rather sturdy shelter out in the woods near Trenton, NJ where I grew up. He wasn’t really deep in the city, a little bit closer to the subburbs. Anyway, my dad and I used to hike down in those woods when I was a kid, and one day we saw this dude’s… hovel, I guess I would call it. We didn’t realize someone would be IN it, so we walked up to scope it out. Suddenly, homeless dude shows up and he’s like “Hi, I live here.” and we asked him how long he had been there and he said a bunch of years.

Anyway, that’d be my strat. Bum the streets in the city in the summer, get myself a nice little winter home in a fair weather state out in the woods. If you’re not opposed to theft, setting up near a subburb is quite nice. People leave their grills outside (free propane, free fire/heat), and if you hit the right neighborhood people probably leave their doors unlocked. I don’t advocate robbing people to turn a profit, but you could at least go up in their kitchen and steal an orange to prevent scurvy, eh?

Anyway — that’s my official homeless strat.

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For some, certainly not all, the availability of drugs and alcohol would play a roll. Although I have heard that it is actually easier to get drugs in jail than out there would probably be people who wouldn’t want to risk that. There’s also a large chance you wouldn’t be able to get the particular drug you wanted but would end up having to “settle” for whatever is around. If they’re used to living on the street with a drug or alcohol problem they will have figured out how to get what they want/need… it would be a drastic change to have to figure out how to do it in prison.

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Jail for a year costs the government less than welfare costs the government for a year (per person).

I would assume that it would be more entertaining for the homeless and less costly for the government to just send them to a nice, low security jail. This is all based off of a figure I have (it costs $25,000 dollars a year in government money to keep somebody in jail) so if anybody knows the total amount it costs a year for welfare (I assume it is more than that) then please tell me.

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Although I have heard that it is actually easier to get drugs in jail than out


I now this homeless guy downtown where I live. His father is a millionaire. He chose to live on the street. He has lots of money too. But he doesn’t use it. People offer him showers. He doesn’t take them. So I think it also depends on how they became homeless.

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As Mike (damijin) says, depends on the location. But I may consider going to jail in Winter…

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Mike said it all.

Freedom is like many things in life… We don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone.

People don’t put themselves in jail because they don’t even stop to think about it… and also, they don’t know exactly how would be their stay and the future consequences.

They may look hopeless and unfaithful, but we, human beings never lose hope of better days, no matter how bad the situation is.

Good topic.

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It just shows you how important freedom is to a person.
A person would rather have nothing exept their life and freedom than something and no freedom.

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i was talkin bout this before to my mate but wouldn’t u prefer to be free and if u dson’t go into prison u’ve got more chance of getting s job as u wouldn’t have a criminal record

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Uhh… Jesse, that was just a long rambling post that barely had anything to do with the topic. Homeless people are typically poor. Not veterans, poor. People don’t choose to be homeless because they saw somebody die, and also soliders are trained to incapaciate if possible, not to kill. Homeless people also can’t be kicked out of town because it is public property. As long as it is public you can’t keep them fromthe event. The stealing thing was totally off topic. And the topic was that “would you commit some offense to get into prison” so it would still be a deterrant in the eyes of the police. So for the most part that was a misinformed, unintelligent ramble. From what I can tell, you have the movie version of war veterans, because we all know with the million+ soliders we have and maybe 10k deaths in the Iraq war, they have all seen multiple close friends slowly dying from losing limbs. They haven’t. So… What was the point of your totally misinformed ramblings?

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war veterans who were taught to fight with extreme anger, only to return to civilian life, and not being able to adjust. Having to hear young men and women you know have body parts blown off of them, and screaming for their mothers for so long that you wish they would just die already, will do that to you. There are others that become homeless for other reasons,

Assuming you agree with your previous posts, since it says other reasons after talking about war veterans, it makes it very clear you see it as a choice for veterans. Either that or you were just randomly posting about veterans with no relevance to the thread. You really think that just by saying you didn’t do something you can get rid of the written evidence that you typed it?

And you are going on another foolish rant about veterans for no reason. It has nothing to do with the thread, so stop talking about it. I am still giving you the benefit of the doubt that you intended to be relevant to the topic with your first post about veterans, but you are just straying way off topic.

Stealing is wrong? What does THAT have to do with the topic? Nothing. The topic was simply if you would commit a crime to get yourself in prison if you were homeless, and nothing you have posted has been relevant to that so far. Prisons are supposed to be a deterrant, but that has nothing to do with whether or not you would commit a crime to go to prison.

OK, and your final paragraph is possibly the dumbest one yet. First of all, homosexuality has no bearing on homelessness. Second of all, I would like statistics for all the rest, because I am pretty sure you are just BSing all of this. And my final question, which was still unanswered, is “what was the point of your totally misinformed ramblings?” You still haven’t even addressed the topic, you have lied about the implications of a previous post (you could have easily edited before posting this, BTW) made up statistics, talked about theft and war veterans and people wanting to die, and made subtle insults to minorities by saying they are likely to be homeless. So where does the topic of this thread come in to your posts?

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Not veterans, poor.

verterans are, by definition, rich and housed.

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Homelessness is rarely a choice, but some people do choose it. You were the one who made the post that veterans chose homelessness because they couldn’t fit in. Also, incapacitation does result in bodily harm, but not death. A PoW is much more valuable than a corpse, and the fear of pain is actually worse than the fear of death. Plus, a wounded solider attracts other soliders to him, while a dead corpse makes people stay away. So, although it is totally off topic, incapacitation is a better choice for a military.

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i like how you just baselessly derided him for being off topic, which he hardly was, then you just purposely deviated from the topic yourself. also, he never said veterans chose homelessness, he said they might be homeless because of an inability to readjust to civilian life.

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Everything depends on whether the homeless person wants help or doesn’t.

If the homeless person is begging and pleading for stuff, then he should consider putting himself in jail. If he is someone who wants to be left alone and doesn’t want anything, then he’d probably stay homeless.

It all depends.

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I replied to his point, which he insisted on repeating. He did say they chose to be homeless. If you had a house before going to war, regardless of if you couldn’t “fit in” with people, you would have to choose homelessness. And I was just pointing out why he was wrong, he was just randomly going off on tangents that nobody had introduced.

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Not every homeless person is Henry David Thoreau, living in their own personal Walden. Very few are, but I guess it makes a nice story if you meet a homeless person in passing and want to feel as if you understand them. You have young children who were beaten and kicked out of their homes for being homosexual, war veterans who were taught to fight with extreme anger, only to return to civilian life, and not being able to adjust.

there is nothing there insinuating that veterans choose to become homeless. in fact, it says exactly the opposite: that some are unable to avoid becoming homeless because they are incapable of readjusting to civilian life. incapability is not a matter of choice. for some reason, you continually fail to grasp this very simple and apparent point, as though you lack the ability to read critically or effectively in any sort of way. ironically, this should make you familiar with the concept of incapability, but apparently it still eludes you.

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Matt, you fail to grasp this concept: If he was a veteran, he would have to have been able to be recruited for the war. If he was recruited, he would have to have a living address. If he had a living address, he would have a house or a relative to live with or an apartment. If he had that, he would have it when he returned from the war. If he couldn’t readjust, he could just live alone where he lived beforehand. Get that? A veteran would have to have somewhere to live beforehand, and would have somewhere to live afterwards unless he chose to be homeless.

You are also flaming and lacking the ability to grasp even SIMPLER concepts than the one that you pretend you have any clue you are talking about. Just because you can’t adjust to being around people doesn’t mean you can’t still live in a house.

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This looks more like a disagreement? not a flamewar. I think your taking this too personaly.

Anyways many veterans get married or move in with a girlfriend before they go overseas. If that girlfriend/wife gets lonely because of the time spent away from each other she could find someone else/find she doesn’t need anyone else and kick him out once he gets back. Also you make it sound like every war veteran lives witht their mom. Someone returning from the military has come of age to be on their own. Their mother is not forced to house and shelter him anymore nor is any other relative.

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I said they probably had houses of their own, and in all likelyhood relatives will provide shelter for a relative who has fallen on hard times. And he was flaming me, just read his paragraph. Obvious flames. Though, knowing your bans, you don’t seem to know the difference between a flame and a disagreement. Also, even if you are socially inept due to the war, and even a bit crazy, you can still rent a house and hold some form of job that doesn’t involve interpersonal contact.

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listen, it sounds like you think you’re a smart person, so i’ll keep acting like you are. whether or not the veteran had a home before is completely irrelevant to this. if we’re supposing that someone is incapable of readjusting to their previous life, to the point that they are unable to keep their house, then no, they have no choice but to lose their house. they are not choosing to lose their house, and they are not choosing to keep their house, because they’re not making any choice. it is an involuntary event. you keep suggesting that this person, who is incapable of keeping their house, would simply choose to keep their house, which they’re incapable of doing.

here i’ll break this down for you.

If he couldn’t readjust, he could just live alone where he lived beforehand

here, youre suggesting that if he can’t readjust, he could simply do what he did before. i.e. he could readjust. i hope you see why this is ridiculous.

A veteran would have to have somewhere to live beforehand, and would have somewhere to live afterwards unless he chose to be homeless.

here you’re begging the question. you’re trying (for whatever reason) to argue that a veteran who is incapable of readjusting to his old life could keep his house unless he chose to lose it, and you’re doing so by assuming that a veteran who is incapable of readjusting to his old life would only become homeless if he chose to lose his house. you’d get kicked off the debate team for that one.

Just because you can’t adjust to being around people doesn’t mean you can’t still live in a house.

this is correct, but has no bearing over the discussion, since the assertion wasn’t that being incapable of being around people necessarily leads to homelessness, it was that some people, like veterans, who may for whatever reason be incapable of readjusting to their lives after service, could become homeless because of this inability to readjust. this doesn’t even suggest that all veterans who can’t readjust to their lives would become homeless, just that some subset of incapable veterans would be too incapable to stay in their homes. you could have 99% of all veterans who are incapable of readjusting to their lives still living in a home, and his statement would still be fine. so i guess this part was a red herring.

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And he was flaming me, just read his paragraph. Obvious flames. Though, knowing your bans, you don’t seem to know the difference between a flame and a disagreement.

How dare you. That has absolutely nothing to do with this conversation. Your too much of a sensitive cry baby to tell the difference between a personal attack and someone disagreeing with you. If anything you were the person flaming him and as of now your flaming me. and BTW those bans were lifted before they even ended, my point got through. Unlike yours which is very flawed.

I suggest you keep the personal attacks out of this and contribute to the conversation in a nice friendly manner or someone might return your comments with the same undertone of anger you appear to enjoy posting with.