published Sunday, July 31st, 2011

Felons in public housing?

It is undoubtedly true that some convicted felons make commendable efforts to reform in prison and to follow a productive path after they are set free. We applaud those efforts, and we can see the good sense of job-training programs as well as charitable efforts to help them work their way back into society.

But there are some long-term practical consequences of felony convictions, and the government should not ignore those consequences in a way that may endanger the public.

Alarmingly, the Obama administration has begun pressuring local public housing agencies to loosen their restrictions on convicted felons obtaining taxpayer-funded housing. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development suggested that some offenders who have been freed from prison may be less likely to re-offend if they are provided subsidized housing. So HUD said local housing authorities should try to determine whether criminals seeking housing are rehabilitated, and open their doors to them.

A housing authority "can use its discretion based on [an ex-convict's] character and their progress to determine if that individual would benefit from public housing," a HUD spokeswoman told The Houston Chronicle.

We cannot see the wisdom in that. For one thing, even experts in criminal behavior are not necessarily able to determine whether a convict has truly reformed -- and so housing officials surely are not in any position to make such a determination.

For another, public housing often already has a significant problem with gangs and crime. Housing officials should not be pressured to bring additional, known criminal elements into their residences.

And finally, there is the simple matter of justice. Some disadvantaged people who have broken no law may be unable to get into public housing because there just isn't enough to go around. Is it fair that law-abiding people could be passed over for housing so that it can be given to felons?

Attempts to reintegrate freed prisoners into society are worthwhile. But those efforts should not put others at undue risk or disadvantage.

1
Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
cdshafer said...

A HUD spokeswoman told The Houston Chronicle.

A housing authority "can use its discretion based on [an ex-convict's] character and their progress to determine if that individual would benefit from public housing," a HUD spokeswoman told The Houston Chronicle.

We cannot see the wisdom in that. For one thing, even experts in criminal behavior are not necessarily able to determine whether a convict has truly reformed -- and so housing officials surely are not in any position to make such a determination.

For another, public housing often already has a significant problem with gangs and crime. Housing officials should not be pressured to bring additional, known criminal elements into their residences.

And finally, there is the simple matter of justice. Some disadvantaged people who have broken no law may be unable to get into public housing because there just isn't enough to go around. Is it fair that law-abiding people could be passed over for housing so that it can be given to felons?

Attempts to reintegrate freed prisoners into society are worthwhile. But those efforts should not put others at undue risk or disadvantage.

I have read this statement and find it to be offincive.

It shows that this person is very bias towards convicted felons and ex convicts.

If this statement does not show a blatant disrespect and discrimination against a certain social class of people then I don't know what does.

Discrimination of this kind is what causes most of the repeat offenders to go back to a life of crime.

This person should not be working in a position of authority where they can openly discriminate against another human being based on their own judgment to refuse them from having a means of sheltor, food and clothing regardless of their past.

November 7, 2013 at 5:56 p.m.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement

Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.