Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Criminalising the homeless

How are the dealing with the homeless in Christchurch? By making it effectively illegal for them to go to homeless shelters or food charities:

Up to 10 homeless people were arrested over the weekend for being unlawfully in an abandoned building and were issued with non-association orders by the Christchurch District Court.

The homeless people say they know they're breaking the law but when bad weather hits, there's no where else to go.

Every Tuesday lunchtime and Thursday night the city's homeless gather to receive food, blankets and clothing from charities and volunteer groups.

But those issued with non-association orders, say it makes these gatherings hard because they are at risk of breaching the order and being arrested.

Police say the non-association order is to stop people committing crimes with the same group.

But it won't - because these "crimes" are driven out of necessity, in order to survive. People need food, and they need a place to sleep in cold weather. Are the police seriously suggesting that we throw people in jail for that? Quite apart from being fundamentally immoral, its also hugely expensive, and it serves no purpose. Its just an exercise in pointless cruelty.