Following a closed-chambers conference with U.S. District Judge William Smith today, the State has acknowledged that a new law which caps the occupancy of registered sex offenders at Harrington Hall homeless shelter in Cranston at 10%, will be on hold until the court reaches a final decision in the pending ACLU challenge to the law.

In a letter that was sent today to Crossroads Rhode Island, the organization which oversees the Harrington Hall shelter, and submitted to the court, Michael Tondra, Chief of the state’s Office of Housing and Community Development, wrote that:

“during the pendency of the lawsuit that there will be no adverse consequences to Crossroads Rhode Island by the State regarding the operation of Harrington Hall should the nightly occupancy exceed that set forth in [the statute] while the State, Crossroads and other stakeholders continue the ongoing work toward reaching the goals set for sex offenders in the statute.”

As a result of the letter, it was agreed that the ACLU’s request for a temporary restraining order against enforcement of the law was no longer necessary.  ACLU of RI volunteer attorney Lynette Labinger said: “Our goal in seeking a restraining order was to ensure that anyone needing shelter at Harrington Hall would not be turned away. We are quite pleased that this goal has been voluntarily achieved by agreement of all the parties while the case proceeds.” A briefing schedule is expected to be set in the near future.

The letter from the State can be found here.

More information on the lawsuit can be found here.