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Homelessness and Mass Incarceration Relationship


Homelessness is an issue that affects not only those individuals who do not have their own residence but also the rest of society. Taking into consideration the fact that this problem is global and extremely influential, I decided to write a paper that deals with it. Trying to narrow the subject and make it more focused, I wanted to put an emphasis on one more critical issue that is known as mass incarceration. I considered these problems to be significant for the United States, as my initial tenuous research showed that almost half a million people who live in the country are left without homes and need to live on the streets or at special residences that can hardly be called appropriate. Homeless individuals lack the opportunities in life and basic needs. Unlike the representatives of the general public, they have no other option but to break the law and commit crimes, which results in incarceration. For example, when the homeless steal food because they have nothing to eat, they are put behind bars. Thus, I believe that these two concepts are connected.

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I made a conclusion that homelessness has three main causes that should be discussed in the paper. Mainly, homeless individuals are representatives of crime-ridden neighborhoods. As a result, their behavior is negatively affected, and the risks of becoming drug or alcohol addicts increase. They spend everything they have to get substances and become likely to be incarcerated (Kolata,1989). Mental illnesses can be seen as one more reason for becoming homeless (Markowitz, 2006). Such people cannot control themselves and have emotional and behavioral issues that lead to the loss of home, necessity to live on the street, and imprisonment. Finally, chronic health conditions that are spread in the United States can lead to homelessness and incarceration (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016). They affect people’s emotional and physical state and often require extreme expenditures.

When reconsidering previously discussed information, I also came up with the decision that a two-fold correlation exists between homelessness and incarceration. Those who were imprisoned have no opportunity to get a good job and earn enough to have a home (Johnson 2015). Taking everything mentioned above into consideration, I concluded that it is critical to find out why people become homeless and commit crimes that result in imprisonment. Without this information, it would be impossible to design a strategy that can be used to cope with this problem.

Faith Integration

I realized that my research should not be based only on knowledge. The integration of faith proves that the problem I am discussing is critical from various perspectives. It is stated in the Scripture that home as a place for living is a basic human need, so all people should have it. In Christian belief, individuals are to have an appropriate home where they can be safe. It cannot be said that those who are homeless or imprisoned receive such an opportunity. Except for that, the Bible believes a home to be a friendly community where people accept each other and assist. The fact that many persons commit crimes because they require food and clothes proves that the general public does not support the vulnerable population. Instead of providing some help, people are put in prison, which becomes their home. Such a situation is rather adverse, and it is not supported by the Christian point of view.

Research & Composition Process

Realizing that the project requires research, I decided to focus on literature review, analyzing different sources, including books, articles, and websites. I selected the sources, paying attention to their relevance to the case that should be discussed, authoritativeness, and actuality. I also tried to select up-to-date sources so that they can be useful for the current situation.

From the very beginning, I collected the most general information that proved my assumptions and allowed me to create the plan of the work and introduction. Then I started to focus on more peculiar information related to the history of the issues, statistics, and other distinctive features. I made notes, pointing out where the information was found so that it was not difficult to put in-text citations when writing the paper.

In order to make this qualitative research authoritative and well-grounded, I referred to various sources. The information about the number of homeless individuals in the United States was received from the article on Reuters written by a professional correspondent. Eric Johnson (2015) discussed recent news and politics, taking into consideration this issue. The article made by the National Coalition for the Homeless attracted my attention because it is fighting homelessness for several years already and provides much statistical information related to the topic (2009).

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One of the causes of homelessness (substance abuse) was highlighted by Gina Kolata (1989). The fact that this source was published in the New York Times at the end of the 20th century allowed me to prove that such a problem has been critical for the United States for a long time. I considered Patterson’s (2016) article about substance abuse to be reliable because the author had much experience in the field. The history of this issue was decently described by Patterson (2016). The research of two Doctors of Medicine seemed to be accurate to me, so I used their article to see how mental illnesses are connected with homelessness and incarceration (Gonzalez & Rosenheck, 2002). Similar information was obtained from work prepared by a professional in politics and public affairs, Lerner-Wren (2015). The reports prepared by St. Michael’s Hospital (2011) and Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (2016) were used to get to know more about the third reason why people become homeless. I considered the sources to be reliable, as they are made by the organizations that work with the homeless and try to help them.

The most significant information for my research was gained from Markowitz’s (2006) article; as being an expert in the field of sociology, he discussed the connection between homelessness and incarceration. Additional data was received from Antonio Moore’s (2015) article, where the imprisonment of African-American individuals was discussed. I referred to this source, as it was written by a former Los Angeles County prosecutor.

From the discussed literature sources, I found out that the causes of homelessness and incarceration are rarely discussed together, so I tried to connect them in my research so that everybody can see how critical the situation is and realize that something should be done to prevent further development of homelessness and mass incarceration. When analyzing the information, I grouped it and defined the major causes of both problems, and explained how they correlate. Then, I provided my own vision of the solution to this problem. It was based on the material I found during research and personal beliefs. Thus, I pointed out why external help of the government and other organizations is required. I presupposed that it would be advantageous if the government, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Center for Mental Health Services, and the National Health Service Corporation considered the problem and tried to prevent it. Except for that, I considered the problems caused by increased rates of homelessness and incarceration and claimed that the solution could enhance the quality of life and make the United States much safer.

Revision Process

When revising my paper, I was not only simply correcting mistakes. I altered the structure of the paper to make sure that the information is provided in a logical order, and there is no necessity to read the whole paper to find only the names of causes of homelessness and incarceration. I also added several new sources that allowed me to disclose statistical data and consider the issue from a historical perspective. What is more significant, I added one more reason for homelessness (chronic health condition) that was previously omitted. In this way, I improved the quality of the material and made my paper more useful. It was rather difficult because I had to do all the steps of research again, but I felt more confident this time as I knew what data I need and what should be done with it. Except for that, I tried to avoid the data that looks like to omit unnecessary repetitions and provide unique and valuable ideas. I linked different information for it not to appear out of thin air. I made sure that all data is accurately analyzed and followed by in-text citations. I believe that now I have a decent research paper that is important and helpful for students and professionals who are related to the sphere and are looking for information about homelessness and incarceration.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Chronic disease overview. Web.

Gonzalez, G., & Rosencheck, R. (2002). Outcomes and service use among homeless persons with serious mental illness and substance abuse. Psychiatric Services, 53(4), 437-446.

Johnson, E. (2015). More than 500,000 people homeless in the United State: Report. Web.

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Kolata, G. (1989). Drugs addicts among the homeless: Case studies of some lost dreams. Web.

Lerner-Wren, G. (2015). The criminalization of mental illness: Be a voice for justice. Web.

Markowitz, F. (2006). Psychiatric Hospital capacity, homelessness, and crime and arrest rates. Criminology, 44(1), 45-72.

Moore, A. (2015). The black male incarceration problem is real and it’s catastrophic. Web.

National Coalition for the Homeless. (2009). Substance abuse and homelessness. Web.

Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease. (2016). A vision for a healthier future. Web.

Patterson, E. (2016) History of drug abuse. Web.

St. Michael’s Hospital. (2011). 85 percent of homeless people have chronic health conditions. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, May 25). Homelessness and Mass Incarceration Relationship. Retrieved from


StudyCorgi. (2021, May 25). Homelessness and Mass Incarceration Relationship.

Work Cited

"Homelessness and Mass Incarceration Relationship." StudyCorgi, 25 May 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "Homelessness and Mass Incarceration Relationship." May 25, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Homelessness and Mass Incarceration Relationship." May 25, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Homelessness and Mass Incarceration Relationship." May 25, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Homelessness and Mass Incarceration Relationship'. 25 May.

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