Friday, December 29, 2006

Homeless database bans city for misuse

The city of Columbia, South Carolina, has been barred from using a national database after it misused by running criminal warrant checks and making arrests.

"It was a breach and misuse. It was an illegal and unethical use," said Scarlett Benjamin, chief executive officer of the agency that oversees the use of the database.

Many homeless advocates, including folks at the National Coalition for the Homeless, believe that criminal background checks are counterproductive. "If there's someone out there with a warrant for a violent crime, then by all means, pick them up," said Julie Ann Avin, executive director of the Midlands Area Consortium on Homelessness. "But picking up people on bench warrants for panhandling, loitering and other charges that are related to them being homeless, just continues the cycle."

Read the Myrtle Beach Sun-News article here. And see previous post here.


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