Madison County locals, Berea College students protest proposed anti-crime bill provisions aimed at homeless

Republished from WEKU.

Madison County tenants and students at Berea College organized a rally Wednesday to protest against anti-homeless provisions included in House Bill 5, also known as the Safer Kentucky Act.

The anti-crime bill includes language that would outlaw street camping on public property. It would also increase penalties for crimes like carjacking and evading police and add restrictions to bail funds.

Proponents of the bill say the added punishments would act as a deterrence against crime.

Ashley Spalding is the Research Director at the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy and attended the rally. She argues the bill would just put a bigger strain on the state’s prison system.

“The research shows that after a certain point, longer sentences only have a negative effect, people are just going to have more trouble re-entering and be more likely to reoffend,” Spalding said.

Others in attendance, like Berea College student Xeo Jenkins, say they would like to see state money go towards housing initiatives as an alternative.

“I’ve seen a lot of people panhandling or kind of sitting on the side of the road, just looking for some sort of help,” Jenkins said. “And if I can’t provide the help, because I’m a student, the least that I think the government can do is provide that help for us.”

The bill passed the House last month and is currently up for discussion in the Senate’s Judiciary Committee.

Originally published by WEKU.

Republished with permission.