Getting kicked when you are down: The criminal law and the homeless in the United States
Washington and Lee University -- Capstone in Shepherd Poverty Program
Homeless persons -- Legal status, laws, etc.
Homelessness -- Government policy
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Conor Califf is a member of the Class of 2015 of Washington and Lee University School of Law.Capstone; [FULL-TEXT FREELY AVAILABLE ONLINE]In recent years, both local and federal efforts to solve the homelessness epidemic have concentrated on criminalizing the chronic population, currently about 84,000 nationwide. In this paper I intend to examine how this process has developed in the United States. I intend to highlight what the problem is factually by showing what these laws are, arguments for their existence and counters to these arguments. I will analyze certain ways which homeless litigants could challenge these modern laws and ordinances constitutionally by examining previous precedents which could back their respective cases. I will then conclude by suggesting an alternative approach to criminalization which has proved effective in the United States.