Do laws against camping in public spaces
Seven homeless Boise residents are suing the city and the police department, saying that rules against camping in public spaces amount to cruel and unusual punishment in a city where shelters are overflowing.
amount to cruel and unusual punishment?
The lawsuit, filed in federal court, echoes similar cases popping up around the nation, all targeting rules that advocates say amount to the criminalization of homelessness.
On any given night, the suit contends, between 2,000 and 4,500 people are homeless in Idaho's capital city, and only about 700 of them will be able to get a bed or a mat on the floor in one of the area's shelters.
The others have no choice but to violate city ordinances against camping or sleeping in public, the filing states.
"Boise police officers routinely issue camping citations to homeless residents for sleeping, sitting, or talking with friends in public places -- activities non-homeless residents have the freedom to engage in without fear of police interference," the group writes in the lawsuit, filed in the names of Janet F. Bell, Brian S. Carson, Craig Fox, Robert Martin, Lawrence Lee Smith, Robert Anderson and Pamela S. Hawkins.
Read the Idaho Statesman report here.