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National Coalition for the Homeless;
The housing and homelessness crisis in the United States has worsened over the past two years, particularly due to the current economic and foreclosure crises. On March 27, 2008, CBS News reported that 38 percent of foreclosures involved rental properties, affecting at least 168,000 households.1 The Sarasota, Florida, Herald Tribune noted that, by some estimates, more than 311,000 tenants nationwide have been evicted from homes this year after lenders took over the properties.2 People being evicted from foreclosed properties and the economic crisis in general have contributed to the growing homelesspopulation.
As more people fall into homelessness, local service providers are seeing an increase in the demand for services. In Denver, nearly 30% of the homeless population is newly homeless. The Denver Rescue Mission has reported a 10% increase in its services. The State of Massachusetts reports that the number of families living in shelters has risen by 33% in the past year. In Atlanta, Georgia, the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless reports that 30% of all people coming into the Day Services Center daily are newly homeless. In Concord, New Hampshire, the food pantry at First Congregational Church serves about 4,000 meals to over 800 people each month, around double the rate from 2007.
Of the 25 cities surveyed by the US Conference of Mayors for its annual Hunger and Homelessness Report, 19 reported an increase in homelessness in 2008.8 On average, cities reported a 12 percent increase. The lack of available shelter space leaves many homeless persons with no choice but to struggle to survive on the streets of our cities.
Even though most cities do not provide enough affordable housing, shelter space, and food to meet the need, many cities use the criminal justice system to punish people living on the street for doing things that they need to do to survive. Such measures often prohibit activities such as sleeping/camping, eating, sitting, and/or begging in public spaces and include criminal penalties for violation of these laws. Some cities have even enacted food sharing restrictions that punish groups and individuals for serving homeless people. Many of these measures appear to have the purpose of moving homeless people out of sight, or even out of a given city.
As criminalization measures can be counterproductive in many ways, the U.S. Congress recently passed and the President signed legislation, the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009, which requires the federal Interagency Council on Homelessness to devise constructive alternatives to criminalization measures that can be used by cities around the country.
Homes Not Handcuffs is the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty's (NLCHP) ninth report on the criminalization of homelessness and the National Coalition for the Homeless' (NCH) fifth report on the topic. The report documents cities with the worst record related to criminalizing homelessness, as well as initiatives in some cities that constitute more constructive approaches to street homelessness. The report includes the results of research regarding laws and practices in 273 cities around the country; as well as descriptions of lawsuits from various jurisdictions in which those measures have been challenged.
International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children;
In October 2005, representatives from 20 countries, the United Nations, European-Union institutions, and the Council of Europe participated in the first-ever U.S./European Summit on Missing and Exploited Children. They discussed, compared, and assessed the effectiveness of: national and international legal instruments enacted to combat child abduction and the sexual exploitation of children;national and supranational initiatives that address the increasingly complex moral, societal, and legal challenges; andcurrent private and non-governmental initiatives and practices that support the protection of children. Specifically, participants sought to provide a common, universally agreed upon definition of the problem of child sexual exploitation.
Lake Research Partners;
Avon Foundation for Women commissioned and funded the NO MÁS Study to research domestic violence and sexual abuse among Latinos, in an effort to further support the Foundation's mission of educating people to reduce domestic violence and sexual assault.
The underground commercial sex economy (UCSE) generates millions of dollars annually, yet investigation and data collection remain under resourced. Our study aimed to unveil the scale of the UCSE in eight major US cities. Across cities, the UCSE's worth was estimated between $39.9 and $290 million in 2007, but decreased since 2003 in all but two cities. Interviews with pimps, traffickers, sex workers, child pornographers, and law enforcement revealed the dynamics central to the underground commercial sex trade -- and shaped the policy suggestions to combat it.
Protest and Assembly Rights Project;
In September 2011, waves of protests against mounting socioeconomic injustice broke out across the United States, capturing the attention of the country. The Occupy Wall Street movement, inspired by similar protests around the globe, used the occupation of public space and mass demonstrations to call attention to a wide array of shared concerns. The movement also used public assemblies to debate concerns and promote direct democratic participation. Within weeks of their emergence, the protests dramatically expanded and deepened U.S. political discourse around the widening gap between rich and poor, bank bailouts and impunity for financial crimes, and the role of money in politics.
The response of U.S. authorities to the protests also received significant attention. Images of police using pepper spray on seated students, the arrests of thousands of peaceful protesters across the country, midnight raids on encampments, baton-swinging officers, marches accompanied by phalanxes of riot police, and officers obstructing and arresting journalists were beamed around the world.
This is the first in a series of reports examining the responses of U.S. authorities to the Occupy protests. Through an eight-month-long study of the response in New York City, together with comparative data collected from cities across the United States, this report highlights major policy concerns and serious violations of the rights of protesters. Further detailed studies will be published in the coming months on the response of authorities in Boston, Charlotte, Oakland, and San Francisco.
Government responses to Occupy Wall Street in the United States have varied significantly, both within and across cities. Indeed, there have been examples of good practice, including through welcoming assemblies, using modern democratic policing styles that promote negotiation to facilitate protests, and enforcing strict controls on any use of police force.
But across the United States, abusive and unlawful protest regulation and policing practices have been and continue to be alarmingly evident. This report follows a review of thousands of news reports and hundreds of hours of video, extensive firsthand observation, and detailed witness interviews.
GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network);
In 2011, 29.5 percent of U.S. public school districts didn't have anti-bullying policies, including many districts in states that require them, according to a report published by GLSEN. In states with such mandates, 26.3 percent of districts didn't have local policies. The report shows the gap that can emerge between the intentions of a law and the effectiveness of its implementation via policy and regulations.
Pew Research Center;
A new Pew Research Center survey attempts to better understand the complex relationship Americans have with guns and how that relationship intersects with their policy views.
The survey finds that Americans have broad exposure to guns, whether they personally own one or not. At least two-thirds have lived in a household with a gun at some point in their lives. And roughly seven-in-ten – including 55% of those who have never personally owned a gun – say they have fired a gun at some point. Today, three-in-ten U.S. adults say they own a gun, and an additional 36% say that while they don't own one now, they might be open to owning a gun in the future. A third of adults say they don't currently own a gun and can't see themselves ever doing so.
To be sure, experiences with guns aren't always positive: 44% of U.S. adults say they personally know someone who has been shot, either accidentally or intentionally, and about a quarter (23%) say they or someone in their family have been threatened or intimidated by someone using a gun. Half see gun violence as a very big problem in the U.S. today, although gun owners and non-owners offer divergent views on this.
Gun owners and non-owners are also deeply divided on several gun policy proposals, but there is agreement on some restrictions, such as preventing those with mental illnesses and those on federal watch lists from buying guns. Among gun owners, there is a diversity of views on gun policy, driven in large part by party affiliation.
The nationally representative survey of 3,930 U.S. adults, including 1,269 gun owners, was conducted March 13 to 27 and April 4 to 18, 2017, using the Pew Research Center's American Trends Panel.
Pew Charitable Trusts;
The Pirate Fishing Elimination Act (S. 267) was introduced February 11 by U.S. Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and eight co-sponsors to implement the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) and to help eliminate illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Center for American Progress;
The current debate about protecting America's borders ignores the U.S. role as a major supplier of crime guns around the world.
American Institutes for Research;
These reports present key findings on crime and violence in U.S. public schools, using data from the School Survey on Crime and Safety (SSOCS). SSOCS provides information about school crime-related topics from the school's perspective, asking public school principals to report the frequency of violent incidents, such as physical attacks, robberies, and thefts in their schools. Portions of this survey also focus on programs, disciplinary actions, and policies implemented to prevent and reduce crime and violence in schools.
The survey was first administered in the spring of the 1999–2000 school year and repeated in school years 2003–04, 2005–06, 2007–08, 2009–10, and 2015–16. The 2015–16 survey was developed by the National Center for Education Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education with the support of the National Institute of Justice of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence;
More than 400,000 people are victimized by gun violence in the United States each year. How is it so easy for dangerous people to get guns? Where do all of these guns come from? It turns out that virtually all crime guns come from a relatively small number of gun dealers that we call "bad apple" gun dealers. Just 5 percent of gun dealers in the U.S. sell 90 percent of crime guns, and they often do it with business practices that they know are irresponsible or even illegal. "Bad apple" dealers not only supply almost the entire U.S. criminal market with its guns, they give a bad name to the 86 percent of dealers who sell no crime guns in a given year. This report explains what "bad apple" gun dealers are, how they contribute to gun violence in America, and how they can be stopped. It provides information about the extent of the problem, including that there are roughly 3,000 "bad apple" gun dealers in the country (Section II). It makes clear that factors like sales volume and bad luck are not accurate or sufficient explanations for why such a small percentage of gun dealers supply so many of the guns used in crime.Using examples, the report identifies three major pathways of guns from "bad apple" gun dealers to dangerous and high risk people. These are: straw purchasing (people passing background checks but illegally buying guns for others); gun trafficking (people buying guns to illegally resell without a license); and illegally selling or otherwise providing guns "off the books" (dealers transferring guns without running federally required Brady background checks on buyers) (Section III). The report provides accounts of some of the top crime gun sellers in the country, who have collectively supplied thousands of guns used in crime over the years. In particular, it highlights three dealers and their disproportionate contribution to crime in three cities: Chuck's Gun Shop and Pistol Range and Chicago; Don's Guns and Galleries and Indianapolis; and Arrowhead Pawnshop and New York (Section IV). It also details the stories of gun violence victims whose pain and suffering was caused by irresponsible gun dealers' practices, discussing how the toll goes beyond individuals and is felt by families, friends, coworkers, and communities (Section V). The violence enabled by "bad apple" gun dealers can manifest as gang violence, domestic violence, hate crimes, or attacks on law enforcement. Specific case studies illustrate how victims and survivors have fought back against "bad apple" gun dealers through the courts. The work of the Brady Campaign and a diverse coalition of national and local partners have organized to put public pressure on "bad apple" gun dealers.
Sentencing Project, The;
This fact sheet, updated June 2017, provides a compilation of key developments in the criminal justice system over the past several decades.