Below is the background, but the current status is that a Rhode Island shelter that was told by the state to turn away sex offenders, is not turning people away. Good for Harrington Hall for not kicking human beings out into the cold over
The lawsuit, filed in United States District Court by ACLU of RI volunteer attorneys Lynnette Labinger and John MacDonald, is on behalf of a group of homeless registered sex offenders (RSOs) who, because of a new state law, will no longer be allowed to stay at the Harrington Hall homeless shelter in Cranston and will instead be forced back into the streets.
“The risks that this law poses to our plaintiffs cannot be understated,” said Labinger. “In addition to putting their health and well-being in danger, this law will make it more difficult for them to access counseling or medical treatment and services, maintain employment, and even comply with the onerous registration requirements that other laws already impose on them. To prevent these dire consequences, I am hopeful that we can obtain a court order to temporarily halt this law’s enforcement.”
The statute – which was specifically aimed at Harrington Hall – caps the number of registered sex offenders (RSOs) that can stay there at 10 percent of the shelter’s population, which amounts to 11 people. The lawsuit argues that the law lacks a rational basis in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, and also violates anti-discrimination laws. As the law takes effect, the temperature is supposed to go down to five degrees tomorrow, with a wind chill below zero.
The lawsuit calls Harrington Hall “the shelter of last resort for male homeless registered sex offenders in Rhode Island, whose only other option is to sleep or camp on the streets,” and notes that the facility has “routinely provided overnight shelter to many more than 11 registered sex offenders, including many of the Plaintiffs,” without experiencing “any increase or experience of re-offenses