Putting people before labels.

Denver spoke. We listened. We need greater supports, connections, practices, and opportunities to redirect people with mental health and substance misuse crisis away from the criminal justice system.

Increased diversion opportunities.

Far too many people with mental illnesses are in jails and prisons. We need improved crisis response options and diverse ways to respond to crisis to reduce the need for arrest. We need more opportunities at different points in the justice system where jail time is reduced or avoided, and the individual is linked to comprehensive community-based services and treatment.

More emphasis and access to services.

More emphasis and access to mental health and substance misuse services and supports that follow someone across programs, and institutions while in, and after they leave, the justice system. Access to peer support services to assist individuals in making decisions that promote their recovery.

Better connected systems for justice, health and housing.

Even though the same individual touches all of these systems, the data, policies, funding, and decision-making for all of these are fragmented. We need universal procedures for referrals, transition planning, and release of information to better support individuals as they transition into community.

Alternatives to Jail Grants: turning desire into action & supports for 18,000 residents

As of August 27, 2020, Caring for Denver has approved 23 grants totaling nearly $9.2 million to community-based nonprofit organizations and departments within the City and County of Denver offices in the Alternatives to Jail priority area.

Grants will support programs that help appropriately move Denver from a criminal justice response to a public health, trauma, mental health and substance misuse crisis response.

More than 18,000 Denver residents will receive services and other support from the organizations to break cycles of addiction, decompensation, and involvement in the criminal justice system.

Over 70 percent of the funded organizations utilize peers and mentors with real-life experience as part of their intervention which is a key component to successful recovery.

$5.4M will go to the following community-based nonprofit organizations:

  • 5280 High School
  • Brain Injury Association of Colorado
  • Colorado Circles for Change (Formerly Victim Offender Reconciliation Program of Denver)
  • Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
  • Denver Alliance for Street Health Response (DASHR)
  • Harm Reduction Action Center
  • La Raza Services, Inc.
  • Life-Line Colorado
  • Make a Chess Move (MACM)
  • Mile-High Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse
  • Second Chance Center
  • Sobriety House, Inc.
  • The Center for Trauma & Resilience
  • The Delores Project
  • The Empowerment Program
  • Tribe Recovery Homes

The remaining $3.7M will fund the offices within the City and County of Denver and as stipulated by the founding ordinance for the Foundation. Those offices are:

  • City & County of Denver, County Court
  • City & County of Denver, Denver Sheriff
  • City & County of Denver, Fire Department
  • City & County of Denver, Police Department
  • City & County of Denver, Department of Public Safety
  • City & County of Denver, District Attorney’s Office

View a Summary of the Alternatives to Jail Grants

Alternatives to Jail Learning Brief

Caring For Denver Foundation is committed to learning both as a measure of progress and to guide our future actions. Deeply listening to our grantees and their expertise is part of this commitment. Learning Briefs share back what we’ve learned and how grantees are helping us think about our work differently.

Download the 2021 Alternatives to Jail Learning Brief.


We want to hear your ideas.

Our Community-Centered Solutions & Care Provision funding opportunity is coming soon!. Click to join our mailing list to stay up-to-date