Action Needed: Sit and Lie Ordinance Vote on December 16
Emails Needed on Sit and Lie Ordinance, Attend City Council Meeting on Monday December 16
Spokane City Councilman Allen, with the support of the Downtown Spokane Partnership, has dropped an expanded “sit and lie” ordinance that will come up for a hearing and vote at the Spokane City Council meeting on Monday, December 16, 6pm.
The Smart Justice Campaign is very concerned that the “sit and lie” ordinance being considered will increase the number of non-violent people in our jail. The proposed ordinance makes it a misdemeanor crime to sit or lie on sidewalks in the downtown core between 6am and 1am, and to sit or lie on any sidewalk fixture (like a planter, bike rack, or drinking fountain) at any time. The ordinance attempts to direct people into homeless shelters instead of jail, but fails to provide resources to shelters for additional space and services, nor does it establish diversion programs to provide treatment and support services for those found to be in violation of the ordinance.
Your help is needed – Please call or email Spokane City Council members (talking points below) and urge them to oppose the Sit and Lie Ordinance, and attend the City Council Hearing on Monday December 16th.
The Smart Justice Campaign is advocating for an end to outdated polices that jail people for failing to pay fines and other non-violent behavior.We are demanding that taxpayer dollars not be used to build more jail beds, but rather are invested in alternatives to incarceration, including diversion from jail, and support services that both hold people accountable for their behavior and provide opportunities for change.
Your help is needed – Please call or email Spokane City Council members and urge them to oppose the Sit and Lie Ordinance, and attend the City Council Hearing on December 16th.
Ask them to set up a process for stakeholders to collaborate, research the problem, and create a comprehensive solution that changes behavior.
- Criminalizing more behavior will increase law enforcement costs and jail costs.
- Jail is the most expensive and least effective response to change behavior.
- What is needed is more treatment and services for those who are homeless, unemployed, and who have disabilities (cognitive, mental or physical) or substance abuse problems.
- Allow time for the new Community Court, which just recently launched, a chance to address non-violent, but disruptive behavior downtown. A community court is a problem solving court that seeks to impose immediate sanctions on chronic low-level offenders while helping offenders address complex problems that underlie the criminal behavior, e.g. homelessness, alcohol or drug dependency, and mental illness.
- We need to wait for the Spokane Regional Criminal Justice Commission to present its Final Recommendations and then use these Recommendations as a guide for all criminal justice reforms, including the proposed Sit and Lie Ordinance.
- After their release, we need to first implement the Final Recommendations of the Spokane Regional Criminal Justice Commission, which includes exploring the implementation of a Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program (LEAD), then re-evaluate if an ordinance to criminalize more non-violent behavior is needed.
Please call or email:
Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart – 509-625-6255, firstname.lastname@example.org
Spokane City Council Members
Mike Allen, Mike Fagan, Nancy McLaughlin Steve Salvatori, Jon Snyder, Amber Waldref:
For more information on the Smart Justice Campaign and list of Coalition partners, go to: www.smartjusticespokane.org
The Smart Justice Campaign is a broad, diverse coalition of 30 organizations, community members, and criminal justice professionals who have come together to reform our unfair criminal justice system. Instead of warehousing members of our community in jail, who pose no danger to our neighborhoods, we are urging our elected officials to spend our tax dollars on proven programs that are fiscally responsible, reduce crime, and create a thriving and healthy community.