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Tue Feb 5, 2013, 05:56 AM

2 Years in Jail for Sitting on a Milk Crate? The Shocking Ways America Punishes Poor People

http://www.alternet.org/2-years-jail-sitting-milk-crate-shocking-ways-america-punishes-poor-people-living-street-hard-times

In 2008, Atlanta police orchestrated an unusual sting: officers shed their uniforms to go undercover as tourists and office workers, a stunt designed to entrap beggars in the city's tourist areas. Forty-four people were arrested for panhandling in one month. The best part about the sting, police officials said at the time, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, was that while actual tourists rarely bothered to come back to testify about their terrible abuse at the hands of the city's beggars, the undercover cops would make for enthusiastic witnesses. At the time, Atlanta had banned panhandling within 15 feet of an ATM, bus stop, taxi stand, payphone, public toilet -- and anywhere after dark.

Laws that restrict panhandling are designed to target poor people living on the street. Other examples of laws that apply almost exclusively to the unhoused include bans on sitting or lying down on the sidewalk, eating in public, setting up camp or sleeping in a park or other public places. Advocates say these laws are used as a tool to drive the homeless out of sight.

Take the case of Gary Williams. Williams just spent 30 days in jail, because on two occasions a San Francisco police officer found him slumped over, asleep, on a milk crate. He did not have any camping gear with him -- not even a blanket -- yet he found himself charged with public nuisance, unauthorized lodging, and obstructing the sidewalk, his lawyer, Andrea Lindsay, tells AlterNet. The first two are misdemeanors, which carry up to a year of jail time each. On Monday, Williams pled guilty to one count of unauthorized lodging after the judge warned him that he could end up in jail for two years. The plea deal Williams opted for means he's banned from the two blocks where he used to reside and will be on probation for three years.

"This is a dude who ended up in jail for the heinous crime of sitting," Paul Boden, organizing director for the Western Regional Advocacy Project (WRAP) tells AlterNet. "When poor people stand for their rights, they sit in jail."

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Reply 2 Years in Jail for Sitting on a Milk Crate? The Shocking Ways America Punishes Poor People (Original post)
xchrom Feb 2013 OP
Heidi Feb 2013 #1
xchrom Feb 2013 #4
Heidi Feb 2013 #6
newfie11 Feb 2013 #2
1monster Feb 2013 #3
newfie11 Feb 2013 #18
Dissatisphere Feb 2013 #16
newfie11 Feb 2013 #17
tclambert Feb 2013 #5
Sunlei Feb 2013 #7
LWolf Feb 2013 #8
rhett o rick Feb 2013 #9
Dustlawyer Feb 2013 #10
freshwest Feb 2013 #13
marmar Feb 2013 #11
Egalitarian Thug Feb 2013 #12
Flying Squirrel Feb 2013 #14
Auntie Bush Feb 2013 #15

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 06:10 AM

1. Up to a year in jail??? Outrageous.



Poverty to prison pipeline, not unlike a school to prison pipeline.
http://colorlines.com/archives/2012/11/school_prison_pipeline_meridian.html

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Response to Heidi (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 06:49 AM

4. Mornin, Miss Thing!

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Response to xchrom (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 07:00 AM

6. Well, mornin', sunshine!

Bushel and a and a hug around the neck!

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 06:15 AM

2. Ah a country to be proud of

Now we jail people for being poor. What's next? ??

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Response to newfie11 (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 06:48 AM

3. We've been imprisoning people for decades for having developmental disorders and

giving them far harsher sentences than those who knowingly commit crimes. Victor Hugo would have millions of gigabytes of information to choose from for a Les Mis type book did he live in today's world.

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Response to 1monster (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 06:51 PM

18. While watching that movie

I was thinking about the 1% and how they would like us back to those days.

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Response to newfie11 (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 01:52 PM

16. re: to be proud of

... we either do something, or sit back and watch everyone become poor ...

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Response to Dissatisphere (Reply #16)

Sat Feb 23, 2013, 06:49 PM

17. True nt

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 06:51 AM

5. "Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?"

"Those who are badly off must go there."

"Many can't go there; and many would rather die."

"If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."



Pretty sure every Republican has said something very similar to this.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 08:35 AM

7. fill those 'for profit"private prisons, they donate your states money to politicans!!

Private Prisons
The financial costs of harsh incarceration regimes – mandatory minimum sentences, three-strikes laws – have strained state budgets, prompting many states to turn to private prison companies to build and operate facilities.

In 2012, two new private prisons are set to open in Georgia, bringing the state’s total to nine. All of these facilities are operated by the two biggest private prison companies in the country – Corrections Corporation of America and The GEO Group. These companies are big money-makers. CCA and The GEO Group together received more than $2.5 billion in revenue in 2010. The companies also make campaign donations to groom political allies, and lobby for – and in some cases draft – the laws that keep their beds in demand. Georgia ranked third among the states in campaign contributions from the major private prison companies during 2003-2010 ref
https://www.schr.org/private_prisons

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 08:59 AM

8. Where, exactly, are the homeless supposed to go? nt

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:01 AM

9. Interesting that if you asked the public to fund housing for the homeless

they would object to the expense. But apparently they are willing to spend three times more to "house" the homeless in jails.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:05 AM

10. Now we jail the mentally ill for stupid shit like this! Make it impossible for them to eat and

sleep. We are the big shiny beacon on the hill to the rest of the world, just don't look too closely! For someone shot by a mentally ill person, Ronald Reagan sure turned a lot of them loose! Maybe that's why he did it! I hope they crap on his grave!

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Response to Dustlawyer (Reply #10)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 01:26 PM

13. +1

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:08 AM

11. Felonious milk crating? .....


...... Even in San Francisco, which by my casual observation, tends to be a little more egalitarian than most cities. ..... Disgusting.


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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:17 AM

12. The criminalization of poverty expands and accelerates. 30 years and counting. n/t

 

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 05:24 PM

14. Some of the most aggressive and obnoxious panhandlers

are drug addicts. I support the specific panhandling laws listed in the OP, people have the right to feel secure in their person. I don't support the arrest of the guy on the milk crate. And I wish after they arrested the panhandlers, they would get those who have drug problems into treatment and try to rehabilitate them.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:23 PM

15. Pretty hard for a homeless person with no car to report for probation for 3 years.

And one who isn't welcome in the area. That's a real hardship!

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