CCJRC Board Statement on Denver’s Camping Ban
Because the mission of CCJRC is to eliminate mass incarceration and the proposed “camping ban” ordinance for the City and County of Denver would make it illegal, and impose fines and/or jail time, for sleeping outside on public or private property anywhere in the city, resulting in the distinct possibility that many dozens or hundreds of otherwise innocent homeless men and women will end up in the Denver jail; and
Because the City of Denver does not have adequate emergency shelter, long-term housing or permanent supportive housing or the many services needed for the homeless such as mental health and health services or substance abuse treatment and creating an urban camping ban would criminalize survival activities for persons experiencing homelessness; and
Responding to these needs with arrests, jail time and fines will increase mass incarceration in Denver, decrease resources and opportunities for truly solving these issues, and penalize otherwise harmless men and women,
The CCJRC Board of Directors opposes the proposed “camping ban” and urges Denver Mayor Hancock and Denver City Council to reject this ordinance, re-assess the issues and possible solutions to the challenge of homelessness in Denver, and include the community in addressing this crisis effectively and compassionately.
Passed unanimously by the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition Board of Directors