Speak Outs
Speak Out
Are public camping and sleeping bans unconstitutional?

September 2, 2015

by Jeremy Quattlebaum, Student Voices staff writer

When Boise, Idaho, passed a ban on sleeping or camping in public, the city said it did so to reduce the presence of homeless people in the city’s center and to ensure the safety and well-being of city residents. The ordinance, passed in 2009, made it a misdemeanor for any person to use a public space for camping.

Boise is not alone with its ban. According to the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, a legal advocacy group that argues for the rights of the homeless, bans on public camping have increased 60 percent since 2011.

“There are some unfortunate sanitation and health issues when you’re camping outside,” said Brady Hall, an attorney for the city. “In a shelter, there are those facilities. If you’re camping outside, you have a constitutional right to relieve yourself, but you’re doing it on someone’s property. … If there is space in the shelters, they should go to the shelters.”

But what happens when there is no room at the shelters?

This was the question before U.S. District Judge Ronald Bush in the case of Bell v. City of Boise.

Soon after the ordinance was passed, eight homeless individuals sued the city, arguing that the ban violated their constitutional rights. Represented by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, the plaintiffs argued that the ban criminalizes homelessness, which they say they were forced into because of unfortunate circumstances. They said the ban criminalizes the basic human need to sleep and makes an individual a criminal for being homeless.

Soon after the lawsuit was filed, Boise officials amended the ordinance by telling the police not to hand out tickets when the shelters were full. But advocates said that many people cannot go to shelters if they lack handicapped facilities or the individuals have a mental illness that the shelters cannot accommodate.

In early August 2015, the Department of Justice joined in support of the homeless individuals, saying that the ban violated the plaintiffs’ Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment. The Department of Justice said in its filing:

“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.”

The National Law Center also argues that cities use the terms “space” and “beds” interchangeably, so they can say that there is space available at shelters even though no beds are. “What actually should mean a bed is available, the city has interpreted it as space,” said Scott Jones, representing the plaintiffs. He said that “space available” could mean a thin mat in the shelter’s dining area.

Furthermore, the Department of Justice argues that the Boise ban, like the other city ordinances aimed at criminalizing activity associated with homelessness, such as sleeping in vehicles or in Burien, Wash., having poor hygiene and smelling bad, diminishes an individual’s chances of getting off the street and into a home.

“Many homeless individuals are unable to secure shelter space because city shelters are overcapacity or inaccessible to people with disabilities,” said Vanita Gupta, who leads the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, at a press conference. “Needlessly pushing homeless individuals into the criminal justice system does nothing to break the cycle of poverty or prevent homelessness in the future. Instead, it imposes further burdens on scarce judicial and correctional resources, and it can have long-lasting and devastating effects on individuals’ lives.”

What do you think?

Are public camping and sleeping bans are constitutional? Why do cities have laws that criminalize behavior often associated with homelessness like sleeping in cars or panhandling? Do laws like the Boise ban on public camping count as cruel and unusual punishment? Join the discussion and let us know what you think!
Join the Discussion
 
 
 
limited to 2000 characters including spaces  



Thank you for commenting.
Your comment is awaiting approval.
Click here to view all Speak Outs
Comments
10/16/2018
Murrieta
Christine
Jabro/ MCA
For the homeless, as long as they are staying in their lane and not causing trouble I believe that public sleeping and camping could be used by them. Its public for a reason, and public means that it is open for everyone to use regardless of their financial background or whatever. And punishment like that is cruel.

10/2/2018
Murrieta, CA
Dylan
Jabro, MCA
I believe camping/ sleeping bans could be constitutional/unconstitutional. As long as they're regulated areas are protecting the homeless, while as possibly allowing people to sleep in their cars I find that to be constitutional. while as I wouldn't find it constitutional to have the homeless to sleep in front of private property such as housing, government buildings, or businesses.

10/2/2018
Murrieta/CA
Isaac
Jabro/MCA
I believe that the bans are unconstitutional for it is not right to ban people from something that the human body is desperately needs in order to survive.

10/1/2018
Murieta/CA
Sarah
Jabro/MCA
I believe that public camping and sleeping bans are unconstitutional.

9/27/2018
Murrietac Ca
Amayzha L'Minggio
Jabro/MCA
In believe that those who are less that have anywhere to go should at least have a place on the street without getting bothered if there is no harm. I also think that the government should help those on the streets more than whats been done

9/27/2018
murrieta/CA
valarie
jabro/mca
I believe the bans are in the wrong because the homeless have no where to sleep that's why they are homeless, but i understand the points made by them but are they going to provide a roof over there head an change that? people need to sleep so let them be. shelters get full an some are embarrassed to go to one. if its such an issue they should fix it.

9/27/2018
Murrieta/Ca
Nyah
Jabro/Mca
I believe people should be allowed to sleep or live or even be where they went to be. This america. a country of freedom. They should help them not throw them underneath the bus.

9/27/2018
Murrieta Canyon Academy
Rahman
Jabro
Even after reading this, I believe that I'm still undecided on this particular topic. I don't really know how to approach this like the other ones.

9/27/2018
Murrieta
Baylee
Jabro/MCA
I believe that public camping and sleeping is unconstitutional because people who don't have the capabilities to help themselves and get a job should be helped. Cities have laws that criminalize behavior that is associated with homelessness for sanitary reasons and it looks bad on the City. I wouldn't say that the Boise ban is cruel and unusual punishment.

9/27/2018
Murrieta/CA
Nick Rizo
Jabro/MCA
I feel like the government should make group homes for the homeless people so they could start over with there life again

9/27/2018
Murrieta/California
Ramoni
Jabro/MCA
I think the ban is unconstitutional because if they have no wheres else to go and the local shelters are full then they should be allowed to sleep outside. Where else would they go? So they shouldn't get a ticket for sleeping outside.

9/27/2018
murrieta
Jocelyn stewart
Mr.jabro
yes i think the ban is constitutional because it's not society's fault that people wanna live like bums. The homeless have to be eager to go out & get it. But if you have a health condition the government should put forth more effort.

9/27/2018
muurieta/ca
sarah arellano
jabro/mca
In my opinion I think that they shouldn't ban camping outside because it's not fair for homeless people. Homeless people don't have a place to sleep it's not like the government is going to give them a place to live in.

9/27/2018
murrieta/ CA
alexis
jabro/ MCA
I think the ban on sleeping in public is wrong. Some homeless people have no place to go so they end up sleeping on the streets. If the government wants to ban sleeping in public then they should help all the homeless people out.

9/27/2018
Murrieta,CA
Emma
Mr.Jabro
I do not think that sleeping bands are constitutional.However,I do think that it is a good idea for cities to do this,IF THE GOVERNMENT MAKES ROOM FOR THE HOMELESS POPULATION IN SHELTERS.Cities have laws like this because most of the homeless community brings filth and drugs to the area,which obviously is not safe.I do not think that they should criminalize it,but i do think that they should find a better way to get homeless people off the streets.

9/27/2018
Murrieta/ Ca
Anthony
Jabro/ MCA
I think that it should be illegal, or if it is so bad in a certain area, the city should designate funds to a shelter or at least a place for them to stay as long as they are actually trying to put their life back together.

9/27/2018
Murrieta/California
Chloe
Jabro/Murrieta Canyon Academy
I think the sleeping bans are unconstitutional and unfair to the homeless. Instead of taking away where the homeless can sleep why not open more shelters, sites, and buildings for the homeless to sleep, especially with the outbreak of Hep. A. I understand what the outcome of homeless people crowding the streets but why isn't anything being done to help them instead of just tossing them to the curb and saying that it should be banned? It's only making the problem or issue worse, instead of putting band-aids on the situation why not make a difference. Its discriminating because they are human just as much as we are so lets act like it. Everyone falls and sometimes needs help getting back up.

9/25/2018
Murrieta/CA
azim smith
jabro/mca
The ban is unconstitutional because human without the capabilities to help themselves should be helped by the government in anyway

3/9/2018
murrieta,ca
leslie
jabro/mca
i think that the bans are wrong. the homeless have nowhere to sleep during the night, they rely of the streets to find a place to sleep. yes they claim points that its dangerous but people need sleep its a basic necessity. they are humans they have rights being poor is not a crime nor is sleeping. laws like the boise ban is inhumane

3/6/2018
Murrieta/California
Jonathan Baker
Jabro/Tenaja Academy
I feel if the government wants less homeless and people sleeping out in public they should make shelters for them so they can have a place to sleep and eat because where else are they suppose to go besides the street they have no home and it may not be their fault that they are living on the streets what if they have a disability that makes them ineligible for work.

2/23/2018
Murrieta/CA
Megan
Jabro/MCA
Being homeless should not be a crime. I understand what the lawmakers were trying to achieve by creating misdemeanors for public sleeping, however it is not constitutional. There should not be a fine for someone who is simply trying to rest in a public place. Along with this, homeless people are not going to have the money to pay off their tickets which will have the end result of overpopulated prisons.

10/27/2017
Lancaster, CA
Taniko
S.O.A.R. High school
This very act of banning public camping directly attacks the homeless. The are criminalizing them for something they have little to no control over. Instead of banning they should've put more time and money to help them get of the streets. Now doesn't that sound like a better idea then attacking those who can't defend fr themselves.

10/9/2017
Murrieta
Marie Durón
Jabro/mca
See now this is just Silly. Why ban people from camping out in the streets/sleeping because of this homeless people get arrested and get charged for go knows what, and for what because it's "wrong" because " you want to make this a better environment?" Instead of complaining about people camping out in the streets why not just do something about it like help out build your own little shelter. Instead of taking this away from certain people why not just give a little or help a little. Help them get cleaned up and help them get a job. People don't understand or see it from their point of view . Yeah, I think it's wrong to ban people from sleeping on the streets but it'll just make things and their life more complicated than it already is.

10/4/2017
Murrieta/California
Allyssa
Jabro/MCA
I think the ban on public camping aren't cruel but the homeless shouldn't take advantage of a place to stay for their lives. They should get a job and even keep the place they are camping clean and nice instead of making a mess of things.

9/19/2017
Murrieta/CA
Kiara
Jabro/MCA
I think public camping and sleeping bans are not constitutional because they are criminalizing homeless. The homeless shelters are full so where else will they go if not the streets?

9/19/2017
Murrieta Ca.
Jacob
Jabro/MCA
If public camping is to be illegal then build somewhere the where the people who need to sleep on the streets can sleep.

9/19/2017
Murrieta/CA
Liam
Jabro/MCA
I don't it's fair to make it illegal to sleep outside. These people do not always choose to be homeless and sleep on the streets. No one wants to sleep on hard concrete at night, if people cannot afford to live anywhere we shouldn't make it impossible for them to do this important activity. We need to stop silly bans like this in the future.

9/19/2017
murrieta
velma
jabro/ MCA
It helps people take care of nature and that way homeless dont just have a place to go they can be motivated to get a job.

9/19/2017
murrieta
kendall
jabro MCA
i think its constitutional because it helps keep the parks clean and it helps motivate homeless people to get a job. i think the penalty shouldnt be as serious but thats it

9/19/2017
murrieta
spencer
jabro/MCA
i think if you openly allow people to "camp" on the streets for free, its only going to encourage people to be homeless

9/19/2017
Murrieta
Parker Belle
Jarbro/MCA
Public camping and sleeping bans are unconstitutional not everyone has a home to go overnight some people are traveling or homeless. As long as your not on private property or harming someone it should be aloud.

9/18/2017
murrieta ca
Dominic
jabro/mca
public camping and sleeping bans are unconstitutional. some people are homeless and have to sleep on the streets.

9/18/2017
murrieta ca
Dominic
jabro/mca
public camping and sleeping bans are unconstitutional. some people are homeless and have to sleep on the streets.

9/18/2017
Murrieta, CA
Marjon
Jabro/MCA
I dont think that sleeping in sleeping bags and public camping should be a punishment at all. Our population consists of millions of people in poverty. There are many homeless people out in our streets and if they cant afford to pick their lives up the way we are, or aren't as grateful, they shouldnt be faced with punishment just to find a small place in the street to live and sleep?

9/15/2017
murrieta CA
Jaydee
jabro/mca
I think public camping and sleeping bans are unconstitutional because as stated in the article some people have no choice and it is unfair to punish them for this. Cities made these laws because they said it was to ensure the safety and well being of city residents. I think laws like the Boise ban on public camping is cruel and unusual because sadly poverty is a major deal in this day in age and some people are left no choice but to camp publicly and i dont think doing so is a crime so to make it like that is very unfair to the homeless they're just trying to get by.

9/13/2017
Murrieta,California
Lillee
Jabro/MCA
Public camping and sleeping bans are very unconstitutional. If people have no where else to go then why shouldn't they be able to sleep on the streets. They shouldn't need to go to a shelter that is full just for rest. The ban makes it illegal to sleep in vehicles too. People who have a car but not a home are going to have to go to a shelter, That isn't as fair to them when they have somewhere to stay and they are forcing them to stay in a shelter.

9/10/2017
Murrieta,ca
nedra
mr.jabro
i believe you shouldn't be punished for being homeless the government is selfish and honestly doesn't help the homeless yes there is shelters but you have to qualify more help needs to be available under any circumstances

5/1/2017
Murrieta, CA
christian
Mr.Jabro
Putting a ban on camping and sleeping in public is very unconstitutional in my perspective. My reasoning for this is because there are many homeless people who have no where to go, so the only way that they can rest is to sleep in public. They could go to a shelter, but there is a possibility that the shelter in their area may have no more room. Sleep is a basic human need that should not be taken away from homeless citizens. The 8th Amendment states that "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." Depriving people from sleep is cruel and unusual punishment, which is exactly what this ban is doing to homeless people. The homeless should not be criminalized for something they need to do to survive. What Boise, Idaho is doing is unconstitutional, and should be stopped immediately.

3/1/2017
Murrieta, California
Zachary
Mr. Jabro/ MCA
No, I believe that the ban is constitutional, as it is both unfair to those camping in the streets, and those who own, maintain, & utilize those streets. I feel these laws seen as criminalizing these people, are actually more in turn with protecting both themselves, and the people whom it affects. Making these things illegal makes it less ideal for people to panhandle and beg, but instead to find a more productive way of paying for the things they need, and for sleeping in cars, it is just extremely dangerous for that person, seeing as a number of things can happen to both the vehicle and the person, if somebody does not realize they are sleeping inside of it(i.e. towing, robbing, tagging, etc.). I feel banning things such as these is not truly a punishment at all, but a safeguard from crime, such as thieving & murder. Not only this, but most of the time, pushes them somewhere more hygienic, and safe.

2/28/2017
Murrieta, California
Josh
Jabro, MCA
I believe the ban is unconstitutional because some citizens can't afford housing or shelter. They are forced to reside in the streets. They are then punished and given tickets, which they can't pay for. This results in them being pushed further into debt. In conclusion, I believe that public camping and sleeping bans are in fact unconstitutional.

2/16/2017
Murrieta/California
Owen
Mr.Jabro/MCA
The question shouldn't be if its constitutional or not because it either is or it isnt. In my opinion, unless the states want to pay tax payers money to run a homeless shelter than intern should not be complaining about people who are sleeping on the streets or panhandling money. Ask youself where would theuy sleep if they dont have a place to sleep and how are they gonna get money legaly without having a base to build apon. These people have no shelter no job how else are they going to servive without sleeping or getting money and its not like anyone is paying for them so why make it so they cant sleep or get money? that right there leads me to think that it is cruel and has no backup reason that makes it ok to do!

2/15/2017
Murrieta, CA
Lauryn
mr.jabro / MCA
The ban is unconstitutional because human without the capabilities to help themselves should be helped by the government in anyway possible. The government should not be able to punish people without first a way to help them.

2/6/2017
Murrieta, CA
Chandler
Mr. Jabro/MCA
I think the ban is unconstitutional, however I do believe they should get some form of punishment if they are relieving themselves on public grounds and not cleaning up after themselves. They should also not be allowed to sleep on private property under any circumstances. If cities are going to ban people sleeping on pubic grounds, they need to have an area where they can go camp or places they can go sleep. If these governments don't spend more money trying to help these people then they can't get upset over them trying to help themselves though.

11/18/2016
Covington/LA
Emma
Coach Pennigton/CHS
I believe that this ban is unconstitutional. Some individuals are currently in a circumstance where they do not have a residence to inhabit, and sleeping or camping outside is their only other option. They could go to a shelter, but there is a possible chance that the shelter in their area may have no more room, or there is also the likelihood that there is no shelter in a close enough range of their current location. Sleep is a necessary human need that should not be taken away from any homeless person. What this ban is doing is violating the Eight Amendment; which states that “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted". Taking people away from sleep is definitely a form of cruel and unusual punishment. The homeless should not be chastised for something that is required for human survival. This ban should be reversed as soon as possible.

5/18/2016
Murrieta/CA
Nathaniel
Mr. Jabro/ Creekside High School
I think that these bans are unconstitutional. Camping is one of the greatest things to do if you are a person who really appreciates nature and the natural beauty that it can produce. If you love camping then you should be able to go camp anywhere that you want, if you can handle it that is. Because it gives their city a bad rep or look if there are homeless people sleeping on the streets or in a car. But where are they supposed to go? They need a place to sleep but I dont see you helping them anytime soon.If the city gets them a place to sleep and a job then yes, you could put bans on people sleeping on the streets. If you give them an opportunity to start over and start a new life, they would have no reason to be sleeping on the streets. I think its very unusual that they would ban public camping. Dont they want people to get outside more? So why ban camping?

3/21/2016
Stroudsburg/ JHS
Carlos H.
Mr. Hanna
Banning these things are unconstitutional. This is so because people have rights to go camping. Cities probably do this because they want to keep their cities clean. Yes it is cruel and unusual punishment. People can do what they want. Even if it mean s they can get arrested. This is why they are unconstitutional.

3/16/2016
Stroudsburg, PA
Manny
Mr.Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
Bans on sleeping and camping in the city are completely constitutional. People do not want to wake up with homeless people outside their apartment door. Unfortunately, there is no real way to fix homelessness. If the city let homeless people live on people's property or in parks then other people might get bothered. If the city makes bans then the homeless people will get angry. In order to stop the homeless people, cities criminalize them for sleeping in public. Boises ban was simply for the better of the city

3/16/2016
Stroudsburg, PA
Mark R
Mr Hanna/ Stroudsburg jhs
I do think that bans on public sleeping/camping are cruel and unusual punishment because they are punishing people who's only choice is to sleep in public, whether they lost their job or are just really lazy, but either way they don't have enough money to afford a home. I think these bans are in place so that homeless people don't use the bathroom all over the place and make the city a mess, and people cant sleep in their cars because they would add more pollution to the air if they leave it on with the heat on

3/16/2016
Stroudsburg PA
Havanah
Me.Hanna/stroudsburg JHS
I believe that people should be able to camp/sleep in public like a park. They need a place to sleep and the cities don't know what it's like into be homeless so they should not be talking. If they punish them what are they going to do they don't have money so you can't give them a fine. They are innocent people who are doing nothing bad.

3/15/2016
Stroudsburg, PA
Sydney
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I believe the bans are very unconstitutional. Homeless people can't help being homeless and shelters can't magically get more beds and grow in size for more space. If all the shelters are full, where else do the homeless people go? Are they supposed to just walk into a shelter and just 'make space'? From what I understand, the shelters do the best they can with trying to help the homeless, but they can do nothing more than they can now with the growing homeless population. If there are homeless people sleeping on benches, so what. Everybody learned to deal with it before and not a lot of people complained about their 'stench', they can do that now too.

3/14/2016
Stroudsburg, PA
Rory
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
I believe that the decision to ban homeless people camping in their city. But, they can't just say for them to go to shelters. Thr cities that have banned the encampment of homeless people in their city should set up a very large campground. It should be a campsite with latrines and running water to solve the problem. They should not just shove the situation out of the way.

3/14/2016
Stroudsburg, PA
Chase
Mr. Hanna/Stroudsburg JHS
Public camping and sleeping bans are very unconstitutional. If people have no where else to go, and that includes shelters because of overcapacity, then why shouldn't they be able to sleep on the streets. They shouldn't need to go to a shelter that is full just for rest. The ban makes it illegal to sleep in vehicles too, so people who have a car but not a home are going to have to go to a shelter, which is probably not as comfy as the car they were sleeping in.

1/11/2016
Murrieta/California
Maria M.
Jabro/ Creekside
If i had to side between the two, i would have to side with the homeless on the issue. You see homeless people already have nowhere to go and I'm pretty sure most of them have the common sense of going to a shelter for sleep and to wash up, however because there are a lot of people without a home and looking for shelter, shelters tend to get full fast. So most homeless end up sleeping on the street. To me it is kinda dumb to criminalize a person for being homeless. First, they don't have money that is why they are homeless therefore they can't pay a ticket and second, putting them in jail will only overpopulate the jails of harmless criminals. putting homeless people in jail is actually giving them a roof to sleep under so i guess that kinda does keep them off the streets but in all seriousness i believe Boise, Idaho should focus on actual criminals and crimes other than people trying to get a goodnights sleep under a tree.

12/11/2015
Diamond Bar, CA
UriahP.4
Wong/Lorbeer
In my opinion, I don't think that public camping and sleeping bans are unconstitutional. For this reason is because, the homeless are already on the streets and parks, but what happens if you kick them out of the streets and parks, where would they go. Many cities actually do have shelters for the homeless, but usually those are full, and then they end up, back on the streets or on a park bench laying down to go to sleep. Also in Boise, Idaho they say that the homeless usually make others feel uncomfortable. This is a count for cruel and unusual punishment, because the homeless already have no where to go, so where would they go when they get kicked out of the only place, where they can be.

12/11/2015
Diamond Bar, CA
BraedynP4
Wong/Lorbeer
I agree with the homeless in this issue. The homeless are denied the rights given to them in the Eighth Amendment since they are put under unreasonable restrictions, and their only current option for sleeping is denied by these restrictions. They have no place to live, with no room at shelters and being unable to find a place of residence, they sleep on the streets, in cars, etc. But with the public camping and sleeping bans, this sad excuse of a luxury is taken away from them, and they are left with no clear alternative. They have been practically left to rot, and to "ensure the safety and well-being of city residents." It's hard to believe that there's any benefit to this ban at all. Under such foul restrictions, I do not see how this can be considered constitutional, since the way the homeless have to suffer through this is certainly cruel and unusual punishment.

12/11/2015
Diamond Bar/CA
KarenP1
Wong/Lorbeer
Banning homeless people from streets or other locations just because you want to save the image of the area is downright wrong. Yes it is very unconstitutional to do this to innocent people who are just trying to find a way to secure their lives and be safe or just chill for at least one day. I see absolutely no reason for police officials to fine these innocent people and remove them from their locations. Many people are not as fortunate to have a place to call home and have to rely on the filthy streets of cities to sleep on and I believe this is the most unfortunate thing to be done to somebody. I once witnessed a family who was homeless, the two parents and 3 children who were all younger than age 5, being removed from a mall plaza because they were asking for money from shoppers and I knew that they had to sleep there many times because they had nowhere else to go and for the police to think it'd be okay to do that people in need is unbelievable. If they can barely afford food to feed themselves, just where do cops think they'd be able to come up with the money for tickets? If shelters are filled up already or the homeless person had a disability, where do they think they'll be able to go? Just because the officers and justices are lucky enough to not have to be in that state, they should put themselves in others' shoes before thinking through something as cruel as this punishment and just let the people be. Unless they were doing something to harm the wellbeing of others then they should not be removed from their places. Even though some people may disagree with this, in my opinion, the government does not own the Earth. They do not own this planet therefore they have no say in who does and doesn't get to call the streets of the Earth their home. I do not know why cities have laws that would criminalize behavior often associated with homelessness but what I do know is that they're crazy for doing so, because it's uncalled for.

12/10/2015
Pomona, CA
AnyssaP1
Wong/Lorbeer
Putting a ban on camping and sleeping in public is very unconstitutional in my perspective. My reasoning for this is because there are many homeless people who have no where to go, so the only way that they can rest is to sleep in public. They could go to a shelter, but there is a possibility that the shelter in their area may have no more room. Sleep is a basic human need that should not be taken away from homeless citizens. The 8th Amendment states that "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." Depriving people from sleep is cruel and unusual punishment, which is exactly what this ban is doing to homeless people. The homeless should not be criminalized for something they need to do to survive. What Boise, Idaho is doing is unconstitutional, and should be stopped immediately.

12/9/2015
Diamond Bar/CA
AaronP4
Wong/Lorbeer
I believe public camping and sleeping bans are unconstitutional. I believe this because kicking the homeless off the streets when they have no where else to go is wrong. I do think that is a form of cruel and unusual punishment. In some cities shelters for the homeless are either overcrowded or they cannot tend to the homeless with disabilities. Cities like Boise, Idaho are starting to criminalize homelessness because they think they take up space and make the residents uncomfortable. The National Law Center argues that the terms like "space" and "beds" that cities use them so interchangeably. For example there can be space available but no beds available. I also do not understand why they would fine them. They most likely will not have the money. They are doing this because they have are just trying to survive. In conclusion I believe public camping and sleeping bans are constitutional.

12/9/2015
Diamond Bar, CA
BrianP5
Wong/Lorbeer
Public camping and sleeping bans are unconstitutional because when cities kick them off the streets, they have no where to go. Sometimes when the homeless go to a homeless shelter, they get rejected because there's no more space. To homeless shelters, space means an area in their building where the homeless can stay, but to the homeless, space means a comfortable bed. Space and bed are two totally different words. When homeless people get rejected, they would just go somewhere and set up camp. Cities have laws that criminalize behavior often associated with homelessness like sleeping in cars or panhandling because the cities think that the homeless take up too much space. But most homeless people mind their own business the whole day. Laws like Boise ban on public camping does count as cruel and unusual punishment because when the homeless get punished or kicked out, they can't go anywhere so they just stay where ever they are. But if they stay where ever they are, they would just get punished again, which would totally be unfair.

12/4/2015
Watertown
Vrej
Rimas
I think homeless people should be able to sleep in the streets because if you don't want them there in the place, then why not help them instead of kicking them out.

11/5/2015
Murrieta,CA
Casey H.
Mr.Jabro
I don't know if I would say that it's constitutional but I don't see why it is such a big deal. I think cities have those laws so their streets don't get crowded and dirty and people should want to try to do everything in their will to not become homeless. Saying that camping in public is cruel and unusual, makes the one who ever said that seem cruel and unusual. I think it should be allowed. not everywhere you look and see an open field but if they aren't bothering no one, i don't see what the deal is.

11/3/2015
Murrieta CA
McKenzie Milligan
Jabro, Creekside High School
I believe that families should be able to go camping with their families, i believe that is constitutional but when homeless people take advantage of that there is a problem. Cities have laws that criminalize behavior often associated with homelessness like sleeping in a car or panhandling because those could easily be escaped convicts that just got out and are making the environment dangerous to live around.

10/2/2015
Irving/Texas
Daisy
Bradley/Nimitz
If a state wants to keep the streets clear of the homeless, it is important for it to take the individual himself into consideration. For many, being homeless is not a choice but a reality- it’s hard enough to get up and dust yourself off when you lose everything but making it a crime seems a little extreme. Especially when they’re only sleeping outside because our facilities don’t have enough room to accommodate them indoors. Homelessness is an issue we have identified long ago, it’s time we help the situation instead of finding ways to just push them aside.

10/2/2015
Sidney, Montana
Tayler F
Mr. Faulhaber/Sidney High School
Public camping and sleeping bans are unconstitutional. It violates rights. The homeless need a place to go and if they are banned from sleeping in parks, they should have somewhere else to go like a shelter.

10/1/2015
Irving/Texas
Erica
Bradley/Nimitz
Not only do sleep bans violate individual rights, but it will prove to be unsuccessful. Homelessness is an issue that tugs at people's emotions. People have the ability to sympathize and pity. But, some people do feel pressured and unsafe around places of great poverty because impoverishment does influence an individual's likelihood to commit crime to better their economic disposition. Whether this crime harms others or themselves in the process. A similar situation is rampant in Europe. In London, anti-homeless spikes have been placed on benches and outdoor furniture. To disable these spikes, a person pays. A homeless person is most likely not able to pay this toll. This is a bit more unusual than this ban, but it deals with the same issue. Activists in London have gathered to transform the spikes and to garner awareness to protest this inhumane treatment. This ban may not be as successful.

9/30/2015
Murrieta CA
McKenzie Milligan
Jabro, Creekside High School
I believe that families should be able to go camping with their families, i believe that is constitutional but when homeless people take advantage of that there is a problem. Cities have laws that criminalize behavior often associated with homelessness like sleeping in a car or panhandling because those could easily be escaped convicts that just got out and are making the environment dangerous to live around.

9/30/2015
Irving/Texas
Aron Mathai
Bradley/Nimitz
If a state wishes to keep the homeless without a place to sleep, then the state should have a place to let them sleeep. While preserving sanitation and safetly are important goals for a city, the problem still stands that there are people with no place to go when all of the shelters and kitchens are filled. If a government, either at the municipal or gubernatorial level wishes to keep the homeless of the streets, the government needs to be able to find a safe place to let them live instead.

9/29/2015
irving/tx
Luz Martinez
Bradley/Nimitz high school
Individuals have the choice to whether or not sleep in public, but they should also think about others. Around society there are many individuals who just don't care, but there are others who don't like to see this kind of people sleeping around in streets down the bridges or even in parks. they believe that this problem is unconstitutional that's why they want to create a law that prohibit this. Many agree others disagree, I believe that this is not the solution ant that instead of complaining we should ,as a hole, cooperate to prevent and end homelessness. By giving money or help on adding a lot more sheltered beds and housing recourse so people have options other than the street.

9/27/2015
Irving/Texas
Nicole N
Bradley/Nimitz
Banning public camping and sleeping is, in my opinion, completely unconstitutional. Don’t get me wrong, I see why cities would want such a thing to be made. If there was someone unprofessionally sleeping next to, or in front of, my professional business building, I’d be pretty upset as well, however, there are plenty of other ways to handle the situation instead of banning them. You’re taking away one’s right in doing so because you’re taking away the way someone is living and in some cases the only means of their living. People can’t just come out of nowhere banning theses people and expect them to automatically find a living facility or shelter. There some people who just don’t want to live that way and you can’t take that from them, it’s not fair.

9/24/2015
Murriet, CA
Alize
Jabro/Creekside
No, I don't think public camping and sleeping bans are unconstitutional, but I do believe they are a bit out of hand. If the person in question is camping blatantly in the middle of the day in front of business, then of course that is not okay! but if its after hours or not in front of an establishment then it shouldn't matter! Unfortunately the cost of living in this day of age is outrageous and some people have fallen into hard times. Who are we to say that they can't find a place to rest their head simply because its inconvenient or unsightly for us? That would be morally corrupt.

9/21/2015
Irving/Texas
Ryan
Bradley/Nimitz
Sleeping in public bans are not only unconstitutional, but morally unjust. If the homeless have no where else to turn to, whether due to the shelters being at capacity or unable to accommodate a person's mental or physical handicap, they should be able to lie down on a bench and rest. Sleep is necessary to human survival, and to deny the homeless the right to sleep in public is, as stated above, to criminalize them for simply having no place to sleep. Every human being is, according the the United States constitution, afforded the rights to "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." To deny homeless citizens the right to sleep (which is, of course, required to live) is to say that they are then less than human and unworthy of the rights afforded by our Constitution. And if this is truly how we as a nation feel, as if we are better than one another simply because we have money for a place to stay and they do not, then perhaps it is time for us to take a look at ourselves and how we view each other.

9/19/2015
Irving/TX
Caroline
Bradley/Nimitz
To ensure the safety and the well-being of their citizens, cities may enact public sleeping and camping bans. However, by doing so, the cities are discriminating against the homeless population because they are restricting where homeless individuals may sleep. Therefore, due to the discrimination the homeless are facing, public camping and sleeping bans are not constitutional. In order to protect their other citizens, cities create laws that criminalize sleeping in public, which is directed towards the homeless. But by establishing laws that criminalize the act of sleeping in public, the cities are discriminating against the homeless. Perhaps this is to encourage the homeless to find somewhere besides the streets to sleep, but because they are in fact homeless, is this even possible? The cities are discriminating against the homeless. In the city of Boise, a ban on public sleeping or camping was passed in order “to reduce the presence of homeless people in the city” [and] “to ensure the safety and well-being of city residents.” But this ban means that the city is only protecting the rights of non-homeless city residents. The city does not care about the homeless. In many situations, shelters are not always available for the homeless to sleep in because they’ve ran out of space or because they are not equipped to help certain individuals, meaning that the only option for the homeless is to sleep in public areas. By enacting bans on public camping and sleeping, the cities are providing the homeless with a cruel and unusual punishment. Cities’ bans on public camping and sleeping are discriminating the homeless.

9/18/2015
Irving/Texas
Lija
Bradley/Nimiz
It is unconstitutional to ban the camping and sleeping in the public because they are stopping the rights of the homeless people. If they ban the sleeping or camping in public then they should find some place for the homeless to stay.There might be some hygienic problem and health issues with sleeping in public and the government could find some criminalize behavior among them but Since there is no place for the homeless to stay and the government can't get the enough place for the homeless people they should have some place where they can stay. So it not right and justice for the homeless people to ban sleeping/camping in the public and the things like Boise ban can be count as a cruel and unusual punishment to because the government should find more space for them and save them instead of blaming the all homeless people. They are also humans and they should also given the freedom to sleep peacefully.

9/18/2015
Murrieta, CA
Davin C.
Mr.Jabro
I believe anything that goes against the constitution; is unconstitutional no matter the circumstances. I believe bans on public sleeping/camping will definitely not benefit the cause to reduce the amount of homeless people in the future. Instead of implementing laws to get homeless people away from the streets, these cities should use their resources to create more shelters and opportunities for homeless people

9/18/2015
Irving/TX
Luis M
Bradley/Nimitz
The entire country today has one big problem and it's called poverty. Many people today don't have the money or the resources to afford a home and the end result is people or families living on the street. Now there are rules that don't allow homeless people sleeping on someone's property and I get that but nowhere in the constitution says that sleeping in public places is against the law. States today want these actions to stop because it's harming the community and what the city of Boise did by banning public sleeping or camping was really bad. Even though there are shelters and churches who give homeless people a bed, but there is really not enough space for all the homeless people so the result is them sleeping under bridges, bathrooms, even park benches, so why are cities making laws to prohibit this. In the end, cities make laws that prohibit homeless people from sleeping in public is just wrong, maybe the city should find more solutions to fix the problem of poverty because it may increase in the future and a lot of people are going to be homeless.

9/18/2015
Irving, TX
Alicia
Bradley/Nimitz
The bans on sleeping and camping in public are unconstitutional because they violate the rights of the people. Sleeping itself is not illegal and the same can be said about camping and the act of being in public. While the cities claim it be for sanitation purposes, its quite obvious their true intent is to discriminate against the homeless in those cities. The problem is not that the homeless people are sleeping in public. The problem is the homeless shelters are full and the homeless are not provided an adequate housing in order to keep them off of the streets. Instead of using the money needed to arrest these people, they should invest them in improving shelters for the homeless and helping them to get back on their feet.

9/18/2015
Irving,Texas
Desarae
Bradley/Nimitz High School
When discussing the subject over camping and sleeping bans I truly believe that it is unconstitutional because it is taking away their natural right to sleep. If you take a step back and one starts to think and rationalize you begin to see how there is no control the homeless have over not having a home if shelters are all filled. Although, to certain extent I do understand the “reasoning” and idea behind the laws being put in place in certain cities regarding the ban of camping and public sleeping ,but I do strongly feel it is still a cruel and unusual punishment that is being put forth, because of the lack of control the homeless have over their situation. In taking this law into effect it is only discouraging and incriminating the homeless, therefore giving them a slimmer chance of pursuing a job due to a criminal record leaving them unable to help themselves and committing crimes just to live life, thus raising the crime activity level in the community. As a result, I feel there needs to be a different form of corrective action put in place rather than incriminating those with a misdemeanor, one example being the Boise officials amending the ordinance by not ticketing homeless when a shelter has reached full capacity.

9/17/2015
Irving/Texas
Jose
Bradley/Nimitz
Public camping and sleeping bans are unconstitutional because it violates not only the homeless people's right but everyone. The Constitution and also the Declaration of Independence states that all humans have natural right: life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. In which the government has to protect and homeless people need to sleep that is important for any living person and organism because without sleep the body will eventually give out and shut down. Also cities are going too strict on homeless who sleep in their cars or goes panhandling. It’s not their fault that they don't have anywhere they can go and also penalizing them for begging money is wrong because that is cruel and unkind for the homeless. In the 8th amendment it protect us from cruel and unusual punishments even homeless people have these right just because you're homeless doesn't mean their right can be stepped over. Sleeping is an importance for life which is protected in the constitution so if the shelters are full then the homeless people should sleep or camp in the public space because they need to rest their bodies.

9/17/2015
Irving/TX
Leslie
Bradley/Nimitz
City of Boise passes laws that will ban sleeping or camping in public. These laws are unconstitutional because they are violating the homeless constitutional rights. According to the attorney of the city, there has been health issues and poor sanitation. Basically, she is making an excuse blaming it on the homeless. I understand they want the best for their residents,but there is not enough space at the shelters for all the homeless people. When the homeless can't find room at the shelters, they do not have a choice. They have the right to find a place to sleep just like us. The laws passed against the homeless like the Boise ban on public camping can be considered as cruel. Instead of restricting sleeping or camping in public, why not adding more space at the shelters for the homeless, so there will be more room for them.

9/17/2015
Irving/Texas
Julia
Bradley/Nimitz
This clearly shows that the law is made against the homeless people and so this is unconstitutional.This is another type of discrimination like people discriminate against black people. If homeless people can't even sleep in public ,then they should be at least given a shelter.Not helping them and incriminating them just because they sleep/camp in public is not fair.It is cruel and clearly discrimination.This type of laws should not be passed because it is not for the good of people living in the United States.

9/17/2015
Irving/Texas
Lexia Martiez
Bradley/ Nimitz High School
In my opinion public camping and sleeping bans are not unconstitutional because now in days a lot of people don't have a shelter to go to. So their only choice is to go out and find somewhere were they feel comfortable to sleep at. I think they should have the right to sleep anywhere they want as long as they don't go around and steal from people and do things that they aren't suppose to do. Their is also those type of people that just pretend to not have a home and pretend like they need help when in reality they don't. If the government doesn't want peope out sleeping in the streets then they should do something about it. That is why I don't think its unconstitutional.

9/16/2015
Irving,Texas
Nicholas
Bradley
These bans are unconstitutional because it is blaming the homeless for not having anywhere else to go. It is saying that they don't want their city to look like it is infested with homeless people sleeping in public. Then to hide behind an excuse about how it was for sanitation issues . That is a bias in the mindset of how the homeless are criminals. The homeless clearly have no place to sleep (even in shelters) but are penalized for sleeping. For example, last year I went to Los Angeles, California. I was walking on the sunset strip and I saw at least four homeless men sleeping on the side of buildings. The next day I was walking down again and witnessed two of those men be arrested for "Trespassing on private property". Honestly this is an unlawful arrest due to the homeless being criminalized for having nowhere to go. If this is honestly is a law then this government is going to border on the brink of idiocy

9/15/2015
Irving/Texas
Gabriela
Bradley/Nimitz
No, sleeping bans and public camping are not constitutional. Just like us, homeless people are humans and have rights. Sleeping is not a crime. Being poor is not a crime. Some cities might have laws that criminalize behavior often associated with homelessness because they believe that the homeless people make their city look like they have “health issues and unfortunate sanitation problems.” But in reality the city looks bad because they’re wasting their money on other things instead of helping those in need. For example, making more room in shelters, taking them into consideration, giving them jobs or a temporary home for those who need time to gather enough money to be well off on their own. Yes, laws like the Boise ban count as inhumane.

9/14/2015
Murrieta, California
Corey
Mr. Jabro Creekside Highschool
No the ban on public sleeping isn't constitutional. Shelters simply cannot provide the room necessary to accommodate every single homeless person, and banning public sleeping will not fix this. Though they make valid points as to how it is dangerous, people need to sleep. It is a basic necessity for every human being. Ultimately these laws help no one.

9/13/2015
Irving/TX
Eric
Bradley/Nimitz
There are a multitude of homeless people who live in the United States, and those people who have no homes are forced to sleep in places where the more fortunate wouldn't even dare think about. Now some cities are considering it illegal to sleep, or camp out in public because it doesn't make the city look good which is understandable. The constitutionality of it however should stand. Yes it may seem harsh to say that the homeless can't sleep in public, but there are places for those without homes that would be willing to help, and yes it is understood that there are times when there isn't enough space, but it isn't unjust to make it illegal. The Boise ban on public camping does not count as cruel, and unusual because the city does have a viable reason for it's acts.

9/9/2015
Irving/Texas
Noe
Etheridge/Nimitz
I believe having a ban on public sleeping and camping is wrong. The homeless often find themselves alone with nowhere to sleep during the night hours and have to rely on the streets as a place to sleep and reenergize for the next day. If the country is so concerned about public camping or sleeping then we, as a country, should build more homeless shelters, have more funds for homeless programs, and offer more jobs so those who need a source of income can have an opportunity to do so. If sanitation is the problem with public sleeping and camping rather than putting a ban on sleeping in public as a whole, we should enforce littering more so the trash and such left over from public sleeping is decreased.

9/8/2015
Murrieta, California
Austen
Jabro
I think bans on public sleeping are unconstitutional when cities can't provide proper facilities for the homeless population. Yes homeless people may hurt property value but creating ordinances to ban sleeping in public won't stop them. Giving tickets out to people who can't even provide for themselves won't solve the issue.

9/6/2015
Irving/Tx
Xiomara
Etheridge/Nimitz
I don't believe that public camping is unconstitutional at all , there is people in the world that wont have what most of us do like a place to sleep at . If there is a homeless person he/she should be able to camp out and sleep . If the government does not want people in the streets they should take action on it and help find jobs or build more homeless shelters sleeping in the streets has nothing to do with being unconstitutional .

9/3/2015
Sidney, MT
Kade Jacobson
Mr. Faulhaber
I believe that the bans are unconstitutional for it is not right to ban people from something that the human body is desperately needs in order to survive. It is wrong to say that a homeless person must be forced into a shelter that has no room or else they are find for it. If they are on the streets, it is for unconventional reasons that were most likely out of their hands to begin with, so let them have sleep where they want if you wont give the people a bed that is not a paper sheet on a cold floor

9/3/2015
california murrieta
cameron
mr.jabro creekside high school
i dont thin that public camping or sleeping bans are unconstitutional, some people these days like homeless men and women have to sleep somewhere and where ever they feel comfortable i believe they have the right to sleep where ever they want and, then there people who have those night outside a place waiting because they wanna be able to get certain items for cheap and hundreds and thousands of people come out to go do that, so no i dont think that its unconstitutional

9/2/2015
Murrieta/CA
Kayla
Jabro/Creekside
The states that have passed this law are utterly disgusting. First and foremost, if we as a country are so worried about the homeless sleeping on the streets, maybe we should build more homeless shelters, fund homeless programs, bring jobs back from China so those who need a job can have them. These Governments forget that the residents of their city are not only the ones who live in homes or apartments, they're also the homeless. These people need support and a helping hand. Whether they became homeless due to the depression of 2008, drug/alcohol addiction, no one deserves to live on the streets. Homeless shelters are a joke, they're very small and limited, hardly have any food to feed the people who need it the most. Instead of handing these men and women a ticket for trying to rest, maybe we should help them get back on their feet.

Related News
Related Resources
Share