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Criminalization of the Economically Targeted Class” by Nijeta Ankh


I promised I would give a synopsis on a truly maddening subject: Criminalization of the Economically Targeted Class”. This is also, based on my experience, the harsh realities for some American born and those unlucky enough to find themselves dealing with poverty and extreme poverty.

Let’s first throw some facts out there to state and point out: Firstly, not all people (person’s) finding themselves in poverty are on drugs or alcohol. let me restate that: Poor people do not all get high on dangerous substances nor are they all drunkards. Homelessness (although a state where it is understandable to want an alternative feeling from being caught in something you cannot easily be released from) is not synonymous with drug use.

Here is another truth: Marijuana is legal to use in Arizona as well as many states surrounding it including Colorado and California.

I state this because the system for the homeless in Phoenix metropolitian areas and surrounding cities use a system which apparently assigns all homeless and treats them as criminals and ones that must PROVE THEMSELVES worthy to recieve assistance to transition from the streets.

This system actually jails homeless people (first) before allowing entry to transitional services (an abode and not a concentration camp). This system also disallows certain services unless homeless agree to taking dangerous pharmesuticle drugs.

The main shelter in Phoenix uses a centralized system appearently deeming everyone needing shelter, an undesirable and therefore houses it’s homeless in “jail-like” conditions with the following: a full swat-team like force with checkpoints (full body and belonging check, the separation of spouses and significant others based on a gender based facilities (like jail). Metal bunkbed cots with thin, 3 inch mats to sleep on (no side-railing to reduce falls). A separation from most of ones belongings, and like jail, no regard for a person’s state of mind and lack of drug or alcohol abuse (no drug test). All (regardless of mental state) are housed together. More detention center-esqe accommodations in bathrooms with no stall or shower doors forcing no privacy nor personal respect (dignity).

It’s been this way for years…decades. It is a kind of punishment. Why is the state exercising punishments on poor people?

I titled this post “Criminalization of the Economically Targeted” therefore I have to show, who that is. The economically targeted are those deemed impoverished and therefore TARGETED with unfair policy. You tell me who they are!

Back to Phoenix, this particular place, does separate by working status. However, the day you start working is the day they would like to start getting you out of there. Even though, most homeless need time to save enough money to gain housing (which is usually about 1500.00$. Caseworkers do NOT find housing solutions but give numbers and addresses to transitional programs. They do give grants (500-1000$) but you have to make it in the jail-like shelter before you get it. The odds are against you.

I wanted to look up statistics. But why, even if this is happening to a few people, how is it humane?

People are treated like animals they don’t like (the people setting up these systems).

Your caseworker (usually someone who doesn’t look like you, usually a young woman from a different class) is to give you basically a timeframe to get out of the shelter. As a homeless person, finding themselves in the conundrum, we try to comply. Here is the average day:

You wake up about 5 a.m. to leave the facility at 6-7 a.m. If indigent, you stand in a long line and are to be served something warm but tasteless and usually sickening. Yes, people get sick eating at the facility I speak of, often. You sit amongst the population and are greeted by people who are suffering drug and alcohol induced psychosis, first thing in the morning. Many are looking for someone to rob. Your phone can be a great opportunity for their next hit. As a person not indulging, you are actually a prime target (they hate you). You scarf down your tasteless meal and hurry out into the morning air. This manuver usually entails walking by more suffering and drug abuse. You make it to public transit (or your car, if you are lucky). Yet, if you had a car, you probably would have just left this hell-house alone altogether. Who put this together?

You work all day to return to the same, swat-team like security talking at you like you are a problem (you just came from work)and get past the check point and the search of your few belongings to enter a pod-full of drug addicted (and seriously mentally ill) residents waiting to make someone miserable (because they are). I am not making this up.

This is so preventable, it makes my head hurt writing it.

For all that would be needed to TARGET residents needs better AND MAINTAIN a more HUMANE facility is to DRUG TEST EVERYONE as soon as they intake. But nah, not Phoenix, Az. The legislature must feel all poor and homeless are dangerous drug addicts.

Anyone care to explain why this is?

Well what this kind of policy has done is create and contribute to MORE homelessness as many wind up leaving these kind of facilities and commiting crimes to gain money needed for housing and survival.

let’s take a break: maybe someone can enlighten me on the comment section as to why this is happening.

To be cont.


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