Home » A Supreme Court case could mean jail time for Black and brown unhoused populations

A Supreme Court case could mean jail time for Black and brown unhoused populations

by The Grio

The U.S. Supreme Court will soon determine whether cities are permitted to criminally punish members of the unhoused community for setting up camp on public property.

The majority-conservative court granted certiorari to hear oral arguments in the case of Grants Pass v. Johnson. The justices will decide whether cities are engaging in “cruel and unusual punishment” and subsequently violating the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by regulating where unhoused people sleep.

Donald Whitehead, executive director for the National Coalition for the Homeless, told theGrio that people experiencing homelessness should not be punished for sleeping in public spaces because sometimes it is the safer option.

“There are certainly issues around safety, how sanitary some of the spaces are, and there’s also the lack of openness for people that are different in some shelters…like members of the LGBTQ community,” Whitehead explained.

John Do, senior staff attorney for the Racial and Economic Justice Program at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), told theGrio that people who are without shelter resort to sleeping on the street due to the risk of sexual abuse, assault, and having their belongings stolen if they were to check into a shelter.

“Shelter opportunities aren’t real opportunities because the shelters are so dangerous or not well kept,” he said. “There is this idea that maybe housing, shelters, drug or mental health services are readily available on demand when that is by and large not true at all.”

Last year, three unhoused individuals filed a class action complaint against the city of Grant Pass, located in Oregon, contending that city ordinances instructing them when and where they can sleep are unconstitutional.

The ordinances forbid people experiencing homelessness from using cardboard boxes, pillows, or blankets while sleeping on public sidewalks, streets, or alleyways at any time. The ordinances also…

Read the full article here

Have information to send to Urban New Now? Contact our reporters. Advertising inquiries? Contact us. Opinions? Email us.

You may also like

About Us

Urban News Now is your number one website for the latest news affecting the Black community. Follow us now to get the news and updates that matters to you.

Feature Articles

Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest news and updates. Let's stay updated!

Copyright © 2023 Urban News Now – All Right Reserved

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More