Aired live February 5, 2019
Cities and towns have laws to keep people from engaging in behavior that may disturb others, like sleeping on park benches, drinking in public, or just plain “loitering”.
What does it mean when just hanging out in a public space puts you in violation of these laws?
This hour we take a hard look at loitering ordinances and other laws that advocates argue criminalize individuals, especially those experiencing homelessness. How should cities draw the line between promoting public safety and discriminating against some of their most vulnerable citizens?
We check in with the city of Middletown, and talk with business leaders and advocates for those experiencing poverty about what it means to “loiter” on Main Street.
And we hear from a homeless couple who has experienced the far-reaching consequences of these local laws.
- Allison Frankel - One of the authors of a 2016 study from Yale Law School’s Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic, entitled: “‘Forced into Breaking the Law’: The Criminalization of Homelessness in Connecticut.” She’s now appellate counsel at the Center for Appellate Litigation in NYC
- Lydia Brewster - Assistant Director for Community Services for St. Vincent de Paul Middletown
- Larry McHugh - President of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce
- Dan Drew - Mayor of Middletown
- Sade and Donny - Members of the “Housing Not Jails” initiative of the Connecticut Bail Fund; they are both residents of New Haven and currently homeless. They’ve asked that we don’t use their last names.