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Published on Jul 28, 2011
A major contributor to homelessness is the misdemeanor victimless offenses with which the homeless are repeatedly charged as a consequence of their homeless status. These charges typically are unresolved for lengthy periods of time and result in the issuance of fines and arrest warrants in large numbers. The warrants prevent the homeless from obtaining housing, drivers' licenses and jobs -- things essential to their becoming productive, independent and law-abiding citizens.
The Regional Homeless Court in Maricopa County is designed to break this vicious cycle by providing a chance for homeless individuals who have shown a significant commitment to rehabilitation and can then have their outstanding misdemeanor warrants resolved in a single, specialized forum.
Homeless Court gives the eligible defendant an incentive to regain control of his or her life and a chance to end homelessness. It also helps government, by reducing the cost of maintaining thousands of unresolved cases on court dockets. To be eligible for the Regional Homeless Court, participants must be sober, receiving treatment, and working towards employment. Today, we are going to take you into our Homeless Court, so that you can see for yourselves, what a difference we can make in each other's lives.