World Crunch – Homeless person under house arrest. It sounds like a paradoxical pun, but it is real indeed. The central character of this twisted tale is 48-year-old Domenico Codispoti, with a spotty police record that includes attempted robbery, petty theft and drug dealing on the streets of Milan. And in 2006, came the remarkable sentence: two years under special surveillance and house arrest, to be served along the sidewalks of via Pisani, a few steps from the Central Station. Every evening, at 9 p.m. sharp, Codispoti arranges his blankets and his sleeping bag in front of the door of the number 22 via Pisani, under deserted arches. He is not allowed to move until 7 a.m. the next morning. After sunset, like clockwork, a patrol comes to check he is at “home.” “I have always done my stealing at night,” he notes, lighting a cigarette. “That’s why the court gave me this sentence. Since I don’t have a house, there was no other solution left: during the night I can’t move, I have to stay here, stuck on this sidewalk.” He will remain here until April 13, 2014. Over the past seven years, in fact, Codispoti has been arrested several other times. He served time in jail, after which he was sent back to serve his “sidewalk time.” It is a sentence with a Kafakaesque aftertaste: sleepless nights, pitiless glances of passers-by, days spent lining up in front of the canteen of the charity Caritas, or among the rubbish bins looking for some dried-up pieces of pizza. “I am a special person under surveillance,” he says with a sad smile. How could you blame him? The rules of the game leave no margin: if he moves away from his slice of pavement, he might end up in handcuffs again. It’s happened before. “One evening, a couple of years ago, I went to the other side of the road to pee,” he recalls. The patrolling officers busted him, saying he was trying to escape. After a plea bargain they sentenced him to two additional years.
Ah the irony. The homeless man confined to his lack of home. At first I thought, who fucking cares? Whats the difference between sleeping in a cardboard box over here vs. sleeping in a cardboard box over there? The dumpster on 3rd street is the same as the dumpster on 4th street. Your life still sucks and you’re still a homeless bum.
But then you find out that Domenico Codispoti does all his stealing at night and you realize just how fucked up this homeless house arrest is. Being homeless and not being about to steal and loot and do illegal shit at night defeats the one and only benefit of being homeless. When the sun goes down you do drugs and get drunk and rob people all over town. Thats the whole point of being homeless. So shackling this poor homeless asshole to the sidewalk is as bad as putting him in the real life slammer. No dumpster diving at night. No boiling denim. No collecting relics from a horse massacre. No theft. Just beg for money all day and not be able to go spend it anywhere at night. I’d rather be dead than be on homeless house arrest.