Can homeless people be fined for sleeping outside? A rural Oregon city asks the US Supreme Court

cross-posted from: lemmy.ca/post/19341435

The scenes were emblematic of the crisis gripping the small, Oregon mountain town of Grants Pass, where a fierce fight over park space has become a battleground for a much larger, national debate on homelessness that has reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

The town’s case, set to be heard April 22, has broad implications for how not only Grants Pass, but communities nationwide address homelessness, including whether they can fine or jail people for camping in public. It has made the town of 40,000 the unlikely face of the nation’s homelessness crisis, and further fueled the debate over how to deal with it.

“I certainly wish this wasn’t what my town was known for,” Mayor Sara Bristol told The Associated Press last month. “It’s not the reason why I became mayor. And yet it has dominated every single thing that I’ve done for the last 3 1/2 years.”

Officials across the political spectrum — from Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in California, which has nearly 30% of the nation’s homeless population, to a group of 22 conservative-led states — have filed briefs in the case, saying lower court rulings have hamstrung their ability to deal with encampments.

thefartographer,

You know what? Say “fuck you” to homeless people and tell them they can’t be homeless anymore! Force them into housing, create free community kitchens, provide living wages, provide free public transportation, have community closets, subsidize healthcare, destigmatize mental health issues!

It’s time to rise up against the homeless and tell them “you can’t live this way unless it’s by choice!” And then, as a community, take away their access to homelessness without dignity (also, ends hostile architecture) and tell them, “fuck you, we will lift you up when you are downfallen because human beings, having invented homelessness, are easily capable of ending it.”

kautau,

Your actions have caused the for-profit prison system to declare war

Desistance,
@Desistance@lemmy.world avatar

They do everything except solve homelessness. So stupid.

recapitated,

Can we milk the last drop out of the least fortunate among us?

doingthestuff,

Sometimes I sleep outside in my own backyard because I sleep outside as often as I can. The real problem is lack of access to restrooms etc.

weariedfae,

Grants Pass? Yeah that sounds about right. Bunch of Rogue Valley rednecks and Californians.

I say that as a relative of one of those Rogue Valley rednecks.

DoctorWhookah,

Can’t even exist in this country without people fucking with you.

Boozilla,
@Boozilla@lemmy.world avatar

Yup. They want people spending money or going to a job. If you don’t participate in the machine, they mark you a criminal.

Maeve,

This has been going on for so many generations, it's sub-subconsious. I'm wondering how we can shift popular mentality around this subject?

Boozilla,
@Boozilla@lemmy.world avatar

I hope so. Appreciate the optimistic thought.

cyberpunk007,

Makes sense. Fine people who have nowhere to go because they have no money. They have no money. How are they going to pay the fine? A child could figure that out.

humorlessrepost,

Can you jail them for not paying their fines? If so, homelessness is solved! 🥳

Maeve,

And the prison industrial complex needs starving.

NatakuNox,
@NatakuNox@lemmy.world avatar

Homelessness in America is 10 times higher than reported. The majority of people in prison are homeless and go from in prison to homelessness to prison again. But they don’t need to imprison people for just being homeless. You make laws that only penalize things homeless people have to do to survive. Like, anti camping laws. Or, eating to close to a road.

cyberpunk007,

Exactly.

Itsamelemmy,

Great idea. But jails are expensive, you have guards and such you have to pay. Maybe a small house, like a tiny one. Where they can come and go, and maybe find a job and start paying taxes.

GregorGizeh, (edited )

But if you put them in jail you can dehumanize them and legitimize their treatment, they are now criminals after all. You can also put them to work for slave wages without causing a social uproar.

Maeve,

Heh. We need to starve the machine.

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