Source: (2006) Research Paper 207. Centre for Urban and Community Studies, University of Toronto with the John Howard Society of Toronto.

Using the situation in Toronto as a case study, this multi‐method study explores various aspects of the relationship between homelessness and the criminal justice system. The research was based on a literature review; analysis of administrative data; review of client files; survey of 57 homeless individuals; in‐depth interviews with 22 homeless individuals; focus groups with homeless individuals and service providers; interviews with 23 key informants; and extensive compilation of prevention programs. The literature review covers research findings on the high prevalence of incarceration among homeless adults and youth; the vulnerability of homeless individuals with mental illness and patterns of transinstitutionalization; the high prevalence of homelessness among ex‐offenders; criminalization of homelessness and the regulation of public space; types of offences committed by homeless people; the high level of victimization of homeless people; treatment of homeless people by the police and courts; cost‐effectiveness of housing provision versus institutional facilities; and service needs, issues, and recommendations. (excerpt) The report includes recommendations for alternatives to incarceration including restorative justice as well as programme descriptions some of which include restorative elements.

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