The Criminalization of Homelessness

  • Pamela J. Fischer
Part of the Topics in Social Psychiatry book series (TSPS)


Homeless persons have been described as exhibiting impressive rates of psychosocial pathology.1–5 A resurgence of interest in the relationship of mental illness to criminal behavior has been fueled by the substantial and possibly increasing proportions of jail and prison inmates with histories of mental illness and/or homelessness as well as by high rates of arrest and incarceration in homeless populations.6–14 Investigations are being conducted to determine whether mental illness has been “criminalized” as a consequence of deinstitutionalization and the reforms in involuntary commitment laws.11–12,15–18 This chapter examines the relationship among illegal behavior, mental illness, and homelessness through the study of arrests of homeless persons in Baltimore and interprets this relationship in light of historic and contemporary literature.


Criminal Activity Criminal Behavior Homeless People Homeless Person Homeless Population 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pamela J. Fischer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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