California describes criminals and felons as 'justice involved individuals'

Governor Gavin Newsom’s latest budget report allocates $10.6 million dollars for "justice involved individuals" to have housing upon their release from jail.

Nick Monroe Cleveland Ohio

Over in California, Governor Gavin Newsom’s latest budget report allocates $10.6 million dollars for "justice involved individuals" to have housing upon their release from jail.

The term appears in the 2022-23 governor’s budget summary, in a section called "Transitional Housing for Justice Involved Individuals."

On page 153 of the PDF version of the budget summary, it says as follows:

"The Budget includes $10.6 million General Fund annually for three years to continue the Returning Home Well Program, which provides transitional housing services to individuals who would otherwise be at risk of being unhoused at the time of their release. This program, initiated during the COVID-19 Pandemic, has served nearly 5,300 individuals to date."

The section appears under a more broad heading in which the state discusses housing and homelessness within their boundaries. The approach California takes is multifaceted: on one hand they’ve had rental assistance programs as a response to hardships presented by the COVID pandemic.

But Newsom’s agenda runs deeper as in the immediate aftermath of the recall election last September, Gavin signed a pair of bills that loosened restrictions on single-family zoning and property development.

These interests by the Governor’s office are on display within the budget, as $500 million for affordable housing tax credits is listed, as well as another $500 million to expand "rehousing strategies" to combat homelessness.

It’s under "housing supports to individuals with behavioral health needs" that "justice involved individuals" are mentioned.

California’s Newsom wants to ensure that convicted criminals released back into society do not end up further contributing to the state’s homelessness crisis, already.

"The Budget prioritizes funding to reduce the number of people who live in public spaces not intended for human habitation in communities throughout the state, including under or along freeway overpasses and vacant lots," the budget document says.

When it comes to the introduction of the term "justice-involved individuals," it dates back to at least 2016 in a Colorado state government meeting.

Fast forward to 2018 and we see intention added behind the lingo, within a Roosevelt University Policy Research Collaborative presentation about Chicago housing.

In it they directly say they "use 'justice-involved individuals' or 'persons/individuals with criminal records' to discuss in a general way those who may or may not have been incarcerated, but who have an arrest, conviction, or other type of criminal record that could appear on a background check."

Places like New York, Utah, and San Francisco have used it since 2020, and it has also popped up within the Canadian dialect in Ontario and Toronto.


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