The Criminalization of Homelessness
December 13, 2018
As homelessness steadily rises in America, so too does the willingness of state and local governments to use criminal laws against their homeless residents. Earlier this year, a federal appeals court found that laws making it illegal to sleep in public violate the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment when they’re used against individuals without access to shelter. Maria Foscarinis, the founder and executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, discusses the decision, criminalization broadly, and other systemic obstacles to addressing the needs of homeless people.