From 2012 to 2017, the number of people imprisoned in Australia grew by a third. This wasn’t in response to any crime wave, or any increase in crime at all. Over that same period, the United States has seen their prison rates fall.
What has been on the rise alongside this alarming trend is homelessness. Homelessness sits at the centre of a complex web of major social problems, including family violence, mental illness, racism, substance dependence and imprisonment.
Every day we see men and women facing a system that seems designed to drive them into homelessness. When we first spoke with Madeleine*, a young Aboriginal woman in prison, she was frantic. She had received a letter from the Director of Housing telling her that she had been absent from her property for more than the allowed six month period and would need to vacate the property immediately.
SOURCE: Samantha Sowerwine. “Being homeless is not a crime, so why are so many jailed?.” The Guardian, 3 January 2019.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia