Banished From The 'Hood

Patricia Johnson has lived in the same Cincinnati neighborhood on and off for 22 years, and comes back every day to visit her children.

"All my grandkids was born here and my kids grew up here," she says.

But Johnson was recently arrested here for allegedly selling marijuana, reports CBS News Correspondent Diana Olick, and under an experimental city law, she was immediately banned from the neighborhood for 90 days. The law targets crime-ridden areas -- like Johnson's -- labeling them "exclusion zones".

City councilman Phil Heimlich sponsored this 2-year-old law and argues it has already proven to be the best way to attack Cincinnati's drug and prostitution problems.

"If you don't live or work in the neighborhood and you come into the neighborhood to sell drugs or sex, then you are banned from the neighborhood," he says. "The fact is since this ordinance went into effect, close to a thousand people have been given exclusion notices and most of them haven't come back."

The city of Cincinnati just issued a report on this experiment, and it says that in the last two years the number of prostitutes in this exclusion zone has dropped dramatically.

However, the numbers have risen in other areas of the city, leading many to wonder if the measure is truly solving the problem -- or just moving it away.

"I look at this as a pattern that the city is trying to do as far as economically cleansing this particular area," says ACLU attorney Bernie Wong, who is representing Johnson in a lawsuit against the city.

In fact, Johnson's case was dropped for lack of evidence, but when she came back here to see her children, she was arrested again -- for trespassing.

"I wasn't found guilty of anything, I have no charges against me none whatsoever, and then they still tell me I'm not allowed to come downtown," she says.

However, the ban remains in effect -- even if there is no conviction.

The law is up for renewal this month and it is expected to be expanded to city parks. Patricia Johnson's ban is up too, but her fight has just begun.

Reported by Diana Olick
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