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‘We cannot arrest our way out of homelessness’: Advocates denounce Supreme Court ruling criminalizing public sleeping

Human rights groups have condemned theSupreme Court decision to side with an Oregon city’s ban on homelessness, allowing law enforcement to penalize those sleeping in public areas.

The court’s conservative majority ruled that the small city of Grants Pass’s law ticketing, fining, and jailing unhoused people did not violate the Eighth Amendment’s “cruel and unusual” punishment clause.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her dissent that the court’s conservatives ignored the “humanity and dignity” of people experiencing homelessness, adding that their decision “leaves the most vulnerable in our society with an impossible choice: Either stay awake or be arrested.”

Civil rights groups and homeless rights activists condemned the 6-3 ruling, underscoring the effects the decision will have on vulnerable populations.

“We cannot arrest our way out of homelessness,” Scout Katovich, an ACLU attorney in the Trone Center for Justice and Equality, said in a statement. “It is hard to imagine a starker example of excessive punishment than fining and jailing a person for the basic human act of sleeping.”

The National Homelessness Law Center in a statement called the criminalization of homelessness “expensive, counterproductive, and cruel.” The statement continued: “While we are disappointed, we are not surprised that this Supreme Court ruled against the interests of our poorest neighbors.”

The group also called on the Biden administration and Congress to invest funding into universal rental assistance for lowest-income households, eviction and homelessness prevention, public housing repair and preservation, and other support services.

The decision sets “a dangerous precedent that will cause undue harm to people experiencing homelessness and

Read more on independent.co.uk