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  1. #1
    Jenna's Avatar
    Jenna is offline sheep
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    Do homeless people fear incarceration?

    I thought of this question after reading the "grocery store theft" thread in the scenarios section, about what a LEO might do with a homeless person who steals bread: http://www.lawenforcementforums.com/...ead.php?t=6451

    Those of you who have arrested or otherwise worked with homeless people, do you find that they fear being sent to jail/prison/mental hospitals? Or do they consider incarceration no worse than, or perhaps even better than, their homeless situation?

    I've never been homeless or incarcerated; nor do I know anyone in such situations. But I imagine that if I were homeless and had no way out of the situation, I'd prefer incarceration to homelessness. Incarcerated people seem to have better living conditions than homeless people, and while prisoners may face violence from other prisoners, it can't be worse than the violence homeless people face from other homeless people and from random criminals on the street. So why would homeless people fear incarceration?
    Last edited by Jenna; 07-24-06 at 12:41 PM.

  2. #2
    Iron Man's Avatar
    Iron Man is offline Don't Tase me bro!
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    Every year we have a number of homeless people commit crimes with the intent on getting locked up.

    We had a homeless man pull a very large knife on one of our officers and as soon as the officer pulled his weapon the homeless person dropped the knife.

    He later told us he wanted to get locked up because he had not eaten in weeks and it was freezing outside.


    Most of the time the homeless do their own thing though and don't bother most people. A lot of the ones asking for money bring more home then I do.....

    A lot of crime in my experience will between the homeless themselves. Most will of course go un reported (The robberies, thefts and assaults between them) but also you have your stabbings too.

    Soup kitchens are not a safe place for them to go in many cases, as there are a lot of criminals there. Mostly its the homeless that have not been on the street for a while that go to the kitchens and they are very naive of the ways of the street. So the criminals will pray on them there since they are easy targets.

    Really being homeless in a city has its own culture, its own set of rules that are very hard to understand for people outside of it.


    I'm sure some other big city LEOs will chime in.

  3. #3
    gozling's Avatar
    gozling is offline the gene pool could use a little chlorine
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    so many of the homeless i deal with are mentally ill and dont even realize what is better or worse for them

    I end up Baker Acting about 99% of the homeless that end up with misdemeanor charges.

    I have not had the opportunity to meet just a normal homeless person here...100% of the ones I have come in contact with are ill and think the only place that is safe for them is under a bush sometimes
    http://www.allpoetry.com/Grunts%20Girl

    We dallied under
    Vine maples and sapling alders
    Searched for lady slippers
    But instead
    Found blackberry riots and
    Desiccated branches

    An old skid road
    Brought ghost ferns and
    Hollows filled with
    Skunk cabbage
    While waves wrapped
    Intricate lacings of weeds
    'Round mule spinners

    His cyanotic eyes
    Were hard enough to make
    The sun turn tail and
    Tender enough to attract me
    To his world of illusion

  4. #4
    CountyFourteen's Avatar
    CountyFourteen is offline Sergeant
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    In the winter here there are a couple people who will do small things so that they can get a hot shower, food, and a bed. They will sing in my cruiser and be very happy to go to jail. They seem to prefer the street life till they hit a "hard spot" and then go to jail for 15 days and be all happy again to return to the street.
    Any Post I make is my opinion only!
    I do not have the authority or the permission to post for my Sheriff's Office.



  5. #5
    TwanimusPrime's Avatar
    TwanimusPrime is offline Moving on up...to the east side!
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    We get a lot of passers through in the winter. Especialy at our Flying J on Interstate 10. Heck, one night had one just wander out of the middle of the desert. No civilization within 100 miles of the direction he was coming from.
    But we have a lot of open deserts with transient camps out where my patrol car can't reach.

    Ussually get different kinds. The ones who are generally mentally stable don't want to go to jail, but I don't think they fear it. Ussually when I tell them to stay away from Flying J and such, they listen.

    The ones I ussually have to hook are the crazies. Had one who beleived he was a Federal Agenct and was Investigating Flying J for corruption. He was SHOCKED that I dare arrest a "fellow officer." Had another one who demanded his constitutional right to be arrested by a Federal Marshall. Screamed "I want a federal maaarrrssshhhaaallll" at the top of his lungs foor a good hour.

    We don't have many perminent homless (unless you count the dopers who live from dope house to dope house). So I don't deal with them all that often. Mostly transients passing through during the winter time.

  6. #6
    Standard Dave's Avatar
    Standard Dave is offline Constable
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    I deal almost daily with those of no fixed abode on the street crime unit i'm attached to at present.

    Most of those who I deal with don't like the custody suite or prison as they don't have in their eyes control of their own time and direction, some will on every occasion violently resist arrest. Of course many don't realise that on the outside they don't either as they are always just looking for money to buy more drugs or having brought the drugs some where they can smoke/inject it where
    a, I won't or can't bust them
    b, some other addict won't rob them for it.

    As has been mentioned they do form their own community and within that there are groups much like a school, work place or neighbourhood. We and the other social services form their link to the rest of society for those who want to leave or those who have mental health issues.

  7. #7
    Coloradocop's Avatar
    Coloradocop is offline It's the PoPo
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    I'd say that the homeless people I've dealt with (mostly drunks) fear Detox much more than they fear jail... Take away the booze and it's like torture to some of these guys. Of course, on a nice cold winter night some of them smile when they see you and slur out "are we going to Detox?". "Yep, it's warm and they have food, get in"

  8. #8
    conalabu is offline Grasshopper
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    Ya know, Jenna, you scare me. I am starting to become of the belief that these innocuous little questions are a precursor to a book or article in a newspaper about officers opinions. You trying to sting cops, Jenna?
    And Shepards we shall be,
    for thee, My Lord, for thee,
    Power hath descended forth from Thy hand,
    That our feet may swiftly carry out Thy Command.
    So we shall flow a river forth to Thee
    And teeming with souls will it ever be.
    In Nomine Patris, Et Filli, Et Spiritus Sancti.

  9. #9
    ticktwrter is offline Rookie
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    In my town we have a nationally recognized Center for the Homeless. It draws people from all over the state and from all over the country. It's like a comfortable hotel. Last week one of the "guests" was killed by one of the other "guests." The killer was recently released from the prison in Michigan City after serving time for killin his wife. He couldn't follow the rules in the halfway house so they put him in the shelter. Great place for a convicted killer to be...around families. Well, he got jealous when his new woman was talking to her former boyfriend down the street and ran them both down. Killed her and the other guy lost a leg. The coward then went to a local K-Mart and cut his throat(hald assed by the way) and is now in jail.

  10. #10
    Jenna's Avatar
    Jenna is offline sheep
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    Quote Originally Posted by conalabu
    Ya know, Jenna, you scare me. I am starting to become of the belief that these innocuous little questions are a precursor to a book or article in a newspaper about officers opinions. You trying to sting cops, Jenna?
    I'm not writing a book or article about LEOs, much less trying to sting you; I'm just curious about your experiences. I don't know any LEOs in real life, so I'm grateful for the chance to talk with you online. A lot of non-LEOs are curious about LEOs. You see aspects of life and society that the rest of us don't.

  11. #11
    nitestokker's Avatar
    nitestokker is offline Banned
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    Cool

    I almost got fired over a transient once. I felt sorry for him so I put him up in a motel room instead of dumping him in the next county, which was policy. I felt good about myself until he robbed the grocery store the next day and we caught him in the same motel room counting the money. Since then, I have ZERO sympathy for any transients or homeless. Screw 'em.

    As far as Jenna writing a book or article or trying to sting us, I live life like this: There ain't S*** that anyone can do to me that two ex-wives, God and the US Army haven't already done. Peace!

  12. #12
    Dudleydoright's Avatar
    Dudleydoright is offline Officer First Class
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    Jenna, As you can tell from the previous posts there are lots of different people and reasons that people are homeless. We try our best to match them with resources. That could be mental health, housing, people who help with jobs etc. Resources are sometimes limited. Some folks don't want to be bothered and that's where their problems with law enforcement begin.

  13. #13
    conalabu is offline Grasshopper
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    It is not a huge problem with my town, but we do have them. Most of the time we have to ignore it unless they cause a disturbance. They cause a disturbance, they go up to the jail. If it is late though, that means they wait until the next day for food that they were trying to get in the first place. Sometimes, depending on the person, I will pick up something at McD's or the grocery for them before they go into lock-up. No disturbance, we note who they are, if they want to be referred to DSS and then let 'em wander. DSS has to handle the shelter stuff.
    And Shepards we shall be,
    for thee, My Lord, for thee,
    Power hath descended forth from Thy hand,
    That our feet may swiftly carry out Thy Command.
    So we shall flow a river forth to Thee
    And teeming with souls will it ever be.
    In Nomine Patris, Et Filli, Et Spiritus Sancti.

  14. #14
    ghost98 is offline BEEN THERE BUT NOT EVERYWHERE
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    i've worked with many homeless individuals. Many especially in the winter time want to go to a hospital with some kine of made up illness just to eat or keep warm. Others just dont care what happens to them, those were the ones i took seriously because if they didnt respect me then i felt they were more of a threat to ordinary civilians....

  15. #15
    pc830cop's Avatar
    pc830cop is offline Just another squirrel looking for a NUT
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    I've watched a federal police officer in a patrol car trail behind a transient, occasionally honking to urge the guy to keep walking until they were out of his jurisdiction and INTO MINE!



    Searching for Evil and the Perfect donut (Love that book)

    "It's not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you"
    -Batman Begins

    There are gains for all our losses
    There are balms for all our pain
    But, when youth, the dream, departs
    It takes something from our hearts
    And it never comes again

    "Captain, it is I Ensign Pulver. I just threw your damn palm tree overboard. Now, what's all this crap about no movie tonight?" -Ens Pulver in Mister Roberts

    The man who will go where his colors go, without asking who will fight a phantom foe in the jungle and mountain range, without counting, and who will suffer and die in the midst of incredible hardship, without complaint, is still what he has always been, from Imperial Rome to sceptered Britain to democratic America. He is the stuff of which legions are made. ...His pride is in his colors and his regiment, his training hard and thorough and coldly realistic, to fit him for what he must face...and his obedience is to his orders. He has been called United State Marine.
    T.R. Fehrenbach, This Kind of War

  16. #16
    cntryboy0531 is offline THE five-oh
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    Nope, most would rather go to jail than to the shelter we have for them. Some are a good source of information.. But mostly, I don't have much use for them. They break the law, they go to jail. IF they want a ride, it's either to jail, hospital, or the shelter. I don't give rides to their camp, or to another place.

 

 

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