Poverty Prison: Columbia SC Demands Homeless People Go Away or Go To Jail, Police Not So Sure

Common Dreams – by Abby Zimet

In what critics say is the most comprehensive anti-homeless measure ever passed, Columbia SC’s City Council has unanimously approved an “Emergency Homeless Response” plan under which patrolling police will remove unsightly homeless people from downtown under the aegis of the city’s “quality of life” laws – complete with a hotline so business owners can report the presence of any aforementioned unsightly etc – and take them to a shelter on the outskirts of town where more patrolling police will ensure they don’t up and wander back downtown. If they refuse to be taken, they will be arrested and taken to jail. If they try to leave the shelter, they will be returned to pseudo-jail.  

To justify this grotesque criminalizing of homelessness, business leaders explained in lengthy impact statements that the presence of homeless people in the city center made it “virtually impossible to create a sustainable business model,” which you’d think would be enough to throw all those people into jail or at least pseudo-jail.

Still, there are problems. The shelter only has 240 beds, and there are over 1,500 homeless people. The shelter would only operate in winter. Both homeless advocates and the ACLU are considering bringing lawsuits. Courts are increasingly ruling against similar measures against the homeless. And even Columbia’s acting police chief is balking by inexplicably and admirably noting that “homelessness is not a crime.”

“I think there are some misconceptions out there that police are going to go out there and scoop up the homeless…I’ve got to have the legal right (to question or arrest anyone.) We can’t just take people to somewhere they don’t want to go. I can’t do that. I won’t do that.


4 thoughts on “Poverty Prison: Columbia SC Demands Homeless People Go Away or Go To Jail, Police Not So Sure

  1. Out of sight, out of mind and just sweep our problems under the rug. Sounds like a return to debtors prisons or the Jews in Germany.

    We do have problems, including aggressive panhandling, but this plan penalizes taxpayers who will have to pay for their jail time and people who might truly be trying to get help.

    1. What, another believer in the Holohoax?

      Hitler wasn’t try to sweep the (so-called) ‘jews’ under the rug, he just wanted that parasitic trash out of Germany, with all possible expediency. He didn’t want them dead – just out. And knowing what we know now, who could blame him?

      The Holohoax is nothing more than another ‘jewish’ fable.

  2. If you’re as old as I am, you might remember that “homelessness” was once a lifestyle choice usually only made by hard-core alcoholics, and that anyone who was willing to work in this country had no trouble keeping a roof over their head, without having six room mates chipping in for the rent.

    It wasn’t until the Reagan era, when the “supply side economics” theory was sold to a gullible population, that people who had worked all their lives wound up living on the street. Since then, this ridiculous theory which assumes that rich people need to be richer in order for the poor to survive has dominated economic decisions, resulting in millions going hungry in the streets, still waiting for a few crumbs to “trickle-down” in their direction.

    “Supply side economics” was sold to the public just as “global warming” is being sold to them today, but as long as people keep believing sources of information who do nothing but lie to them, they’re going to pay for their gullibility with their lives.

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