FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CITES EIGHTH AMENDMENT IN NEW OPINION …
|| By FITSNEWS || If you’re homeless and reading this, good news! The federal government is weighing in on your right to sleep wherever you want (on public property, anyway).
“When adequate shelter space exists, individuals have a choice about whether or not to sleep in public,” the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) argues in a statement (.pdf here) related to an Idaho court case. “However, when adequate shelter space does not exist, there is no meaningful distinction between the status of being homeless and the conduct of sleeping in public. Sleeping is a life-sustaining activity — i.e., it must occur at some time in some place. If a person literally has nowhere else to go, then enforcement of the anti-camping ordinance against that person criminalizes her for being homeless.”
And that, according to the feds, is a violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects citizens from cruel and unusual punishment.
Why do we care about this? Well, the city of Columbia, S.C. has been ripped in the past for its policies toward homeless people … while S.C. governor Nikki Haley has made it clear she doesn’t want protesters camping out on the grounds of the S.C. State House.
This case could impact both of those debates …
We kind of like the possibility of homeless people sleeping en masse on the grounds of the S.C. State House (and for that matter, the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.). After all, politicians in both buildings could use a daily reminder of the impact of their policies.
Which reminds us: Until government at all levels stops incentivizing dependency, expanding bureaucracy, subsidizing corporate cronyism and suppressing the consumer economy, expect to see more homeless people looking for places to sleep.
And that’s ultimately what this debate should be about … how to reduce homelessness by expanding economic activity for all people.
“…Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted…”
Yeah, I can $ee how that mean$ that bum$ can $leep where ever they want.
OK, some time available to me here so I’ll give this story. Some years ago a friend of mine was a university sales rep for a publishing company. At the end of the year she would give away the excess textbooks. One that I got was about the justice system in America, the history of prisons, police brutality, and other related stuff
One chapter was about the Texas prison system which was a very tough outfit. Well, one prison wanted to make life more miserable for those put in solitary confinement. So after much discussion, it was decided to give those prisoners their most hated meal the prison could offer. The meal was meatloaf. The guys in solitary were fed this hot, nutritious meal THREE TIMES A DAY!
One of the prisoners sued the prison and the case went to the US Supreme Court on the basis of “cruel and unusual punishment.” The ruling was that prisoners could be fed on bread and water daily except that every third day they must be given a hot, balanced meal. These guys were getting it three times each day
Was there anything unusual in the final ruling? Yes — they discovered that there was NO MEAT IN THE MEATLOAF!
Where should they sleep, if they have no money?
Take your pick: http://www.suntopia.org/columbia/sc/homeless_shelters.php
There are 17 places that provide services to homeless people here in the Columbia area. Sistercare, Palmetto Place, Oliver Gospel Mission, Providence Home, Midland Housing Alliance, Magdalene Project, Family Shelter, Hannah’s House, Faith Truth and Hope Ministries, His House, Samaritan’s Well, Good Samaritan House, YWCA of the Upper Lowlands, Wateree Community Actions, Butterfly House, Salvation Army, Samaritan House of Sumter. Most of those who do not avail themselves of the services have drug or alcohol problems or are mentally ill.
Letting them sleep on the front steps of the State House is not, kind, generous, loving, caring or concerned.
Perhaps you did not read the article. The government’s argument is that when adequate shelter does not exist the homeless must be allowed to sleep on public property. To which you respond they could sleep in a shelter. So apparently you do not even understanding the question. A common problem from with the far right..
You are correct that letting them sleep on the State House steps is not kind, generous, loving, caring or concerned. but its kinder, more generous, more loving, more caring, and more concerned than most on the right would be.
Perhaps you missed the SEVENTEEN places that offer homeless services – I neglected to mention the County Services that open when it gets cold. You also missed that most who eschew the services are drug or alcohol dependent or are mentally ill – allowing them to hang around on the street endangers both them and the general public.
What does how many places Columbia has for the homeless have to do with the question of what happens when adequate shelter does not exist?
What does the DOJ know about the number of bed spaces for the homeless in Columbia? I do not ever remember a year when homeless folks were turned away.
What this initiative on the part of DOJ will do is allow more people to sleep on the street – it will not house one damn homeless person. The problem will grow as a result, most of the shelters will not allow alcohol, smoking etc.
At least if they get taken to jail for the night, they’re out of the rain or cold and will get a hot meal. This is “feel good mental masturbation” at it’s finest.
You do realize this case is not a SC case, right? This case has nothing to do with Columbia or South Carolina. This is and Idaho Case. What do you know about the status of homeless shelters in Boise, Idaho.
Exactly and their “solution” will be applied universally even where no problem exists.
If no problem exists, their solution is for people to go to homeless shelters. That was the whole point of their argument. The question is what happens when adequate shelter DOES NOT EXIST. You seem to have a comprehension problem.
But as I’ve clearly indicated they choose not to do so and more will make the same choice once they realize they’re not going to get hassled. You can’t have a “sometimes” law. Are you really that obtuse?
How about a FEMA camp?
Works for me. Give http://www.a hot and a cut, get rtfm some mental help, nah, that’s a pipe dream, it’s probably against some dreamed up Constitutional right to actually help them out…
“…If you’re homeless and reading this, good news…”
GT, you still paying attention?
I doubt GT is homeless however you are souless to mock those that are hurting and in need.
If you cared as much about your ‘brother’ in need as much as you did that fucking,irrelevant confederate flag just maybe your community would change for the better.
I cared enough about the flag to want it moved, I’d love to have you join me in volunteering at Daybreak Ministries or Habitat.
GT and Flip are bums, like they’d do actual work. Too busy leeching off taxpayers so they can be here day in and day out.
Thank his liberal God Obama for section 8 housing, right?
There are more g’ment employees “working” on homeless than there are …
I bought a new silver
Mercedes M-Class ML63 AMG doing some
job with a macboook air.
Now l have earned an average of $99//hr…
Read For work info
FOR WORK INFo LOOOK NEXT TAB IN PAGE WEBSITE
Most times this is more of a mental health issue than economic issue. Wish it was that simple.
Correct. All Folks needs to do is volunteer to work a homeless shelter one night and he will find out that the majority of the homeless have mental issues. They are not going to get a job anywhere.
Yes, and while it’s sad — it is true.
Yes…and addiction issues.So sad and God Bless those that serve at the homeless shelters to give these people a bed,a meal and just some damn HOPE and piece of mind , for the moment.
Very true.Beginning w/Reagan ,treatment for the mentally ill has gone to hell…
More often than not,they go to jail,and never receive adequate care.That’s why we’re playing ball w/Bull Street developers who don’t have a conscience or a soul.May they rot in hell…
WTF does Reagan have to do with this? Asking for a friend.
G O O G L E
OK, WTF does Reagan have to do with google?
“We kind of like the possibility of homeless people sleeping en masse on the grounds of the S.C. State House (and for that matter, the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.). After all, politicians in both buildings could use a daily reminder of the impact of their policies.”
Force pols to step over the squalor they help create as a daily reminder of all their ongoing failure.
Maybe we’ll get lucky and they’ll get accosted by the suffering too.
It’s not possible to become homeless unless your luck runs out,but so many people have everything invested in luck.stay lucky,and don’t get sick,and you’ll be ok…
Damn, I never heard of that guy before but he is good with that guitar!
So does that mean that the Occupy Movement can move back in on the statehouse lawn?
Think about this for a moment. Our biggest industry in SC is tourism. And the biggest draw for tourism is the ocean and the adjoining beach. The entire beach from the waters edge to the dune high line is public property. For generations, state and local governments have held that sleeping on the beach is illegal. Now, with this ruling, those bans are struck down. No longer will those vacationing along Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head or the Charleston area beaches have to worry about paying for a pricey hotel room. Just arrive for a two or three night stay, party at the clubs, shop in the stores, and eat in the restaurants. When one gets tired, just stroll down to the beach and relax under the stars and enjoy the warm sea breeze. Spring Break, First Week, Motorcycle rallies and those blue collar family vacations will be an entirely new adventure. Those that do choose to blow money on hotels will be greeted every morning when they make their way to the beach by these ‘budget conscious’ vacationers. Not sure how attractive that will make our beaches for the traditional visitors or how safe it will be from muggers and beach rakes. And those inland can look for tax increases as sales tax, accommodations tax, ad tax, hospitality tax and local and state education sales tax revenue all decline from South Carolina’s goose that lays the golden egg. This might prove devastating but interesting to watch!
In a just world,SC would be referred to as,a radioactive penal colony.
Ewww… Can you imagine availing yourself of the budget accomodations you described and in the dark, on a moonless night, stepping on a “sea log” that was left by one of the professional homeless? How about laying down on one?
Imagine the fun of walking barefoot along the beach the next day and stepping on a sea log that had been covered with sand when the tide came in, or perhaps by kids playing with the sand.
“Which reminds us: Until government at all levels stops incentivizing dependency, expanding bureaucracy, subsidizing corporate cronyism and suppressing the consumer economy, expect to see more homeless people looking for places to sleep.”
Perhaps you were under the impression that there has been a period in the history of our country when there were no homeless. Perhaps you were even under the impression that the number of homeless people was historically high. In fact the percentage of our population which is homeless is historically very low. In no small part because of government programs, like subsidized housing, rent control, and shelters. Perhaps you need to review some of those depression era pictures of what life was like for the homeless. Perhaps you should take a trip to India to see what real homelessness is like, when there is no help.
The williness of the right to fantasize about the non-existent good old days before the government caused all these people to be homeless never ceases to amaze me.
“We kind of like the possibility of homeless people sleeping en masse on the grounds of the S.C. State House (and for that matter, the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.)”
Besides the usual “we” weirdness, what a dumb thing to wish for. Besides, most homelessness isn’t economic (at least not in the sense that the free market creates most of it). Most homelessness is mental illness-related, and the economic issue there is the lack of GOVERNMENT funding for adequate treatment; there is little or no incentive for the free market to provide for treatment centers, shelters, etc. Of course, in the FITScentric universe that’s not a “core function of government (drink up everyone), so I guess we’ll just continue to let ’em die (or bounce in and out of jails to get meds once in a while). Go Libertarianism!