Award Date

Spring 2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice


Criminal Justice

Advisor 1

Randall Shelden, Committee Chair

First Committee Member

Hong Lu

Second Committee Member

Terance Miethe

Graduate Faculty Representative

Barbara Brents

Number of Pages



The current study is an analysis of the problem of homelessness in American society today. It focuses on the demographic characteristics of the homeless in addition to some of the contributing factors that explain homelessness. Of particular concern is how the criminal justice system responds to homelessness, including the criminalization and stigmatization of homeless individuals and the implications of such a response. The data used in this study come from a recent survey conducted in a jail setting in a northwest city. The present study compares those who have been homeless at one time or another and those who have never been homeless. More specifically, this study explores the relationship between homelessness, incarceration, prior criminal history, employment and other important factors that may increase the likelihood receiving a jail sentence and the severity of that sentence.


Criminal justice processing; Homeless persons; Homelessness; Indigent families; Poverty; Residentially challenged; Social bond theory; Stigmatization; Unemployment; Victimization


Criminology | Inequality and Stratification | Public Policy | Sociology