BOULDER – “The ACLU of Colorado is disappointed that the City of Boulder has decided to add its name to the long and growing list of municipalities around the state that have responded to poverty on their streets and in their public spaces by increasing surveillance, adding new criminal penalties, and giving more tools to police and municipal judges to push homeless and poor people out of their communities.
“Two years ago, in a letter supporting the Boulder City Council’s decision to eliminate jail time for a number of minor offenses, many of which are unevenly enforced against the homeless and poor, the ACLU of Colorado Boulder County chapter wrote that ‘Incarceration is an extreme violation of liberty and should be reserved for the most serious violations and violators.’ At the time, the Council agreed.
“Now, just two years later, the Council has reversed that decision and plans to use the new ordinances to ‘take back public spaces’ by pushing disfavored members of the public out of them. Pushing the homeless out of one location only increases the problem of homelessness in other locations. Rather than spending public resources on more aggressive law enforcement, harassment, and incarceration, communities like Boulder would be better served by focusing that funding on programs that actually address and help to solve root causes of poverty.”