In England it is against the law to sleep on the streets! According to the vagrancy act anyone sleeping in a public place or begging for survival, can and will be held in custody.
Crazy right?! Now the thing that blows my mind here, is that this law is aimed at “vagrants” which is a posh word for “tramp”. A degrading label for the poorest of the poor. If I’m completely honest it sickens me that in 1824, someone decided that they would make it a crime to have no home.
I’m really struggling with this a lot lately, it is not right that a human should be deemed a tramp because they have no place to call home.
When I was around 20-21 I was arrested for vagrancy, placed in custody at Holloway prison. I wasn’t being aggressive or antagonising! I was just sitting on my pitch where I slept every night, when two plain clothed officers arrested me on the spot. It was always non uniformed officers to try and trick you.
That was the first time I ever went to prison. My name was now tarnished because I had no place to call home.
Life Is Hard Enough
A person is still in mental development mode at the age of 21. The brain is still conditioning and the impact of environment is still moulding the personality. Being locked in jail only edified my feelings of unworthiness and abandonment.
Being so young when I began sleeping rough, I had adopted the idea that I belonged on the streets because nobody wanted me. So when they locked me up for sleeping rough, I wished they threw away the key…
Why Is It Still A Crime?!
That is one example of what it felt like for me, seventeen years ago! The act is still in place and it’s like a curse. No use to anyone, just a hinderance. Why is it still a crime is my question?
The Government pledged Hundreds of millions of pounds to end homelessness, yet if you are charged with the offence of vagrancy “Sleeping Rough” you face a fine to avoid jail…
No human being should be arrested for having no home or begging for survival. Please help me get this law dropped. Subscribe for updates to be informed when the petition to #DropTheAct is fully published!
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Thanks for stopping by, Kerri x