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Report: Criminal justice reform in Utah failed in reducing reoffenders

Utah Prison
Posted at 7:52 AM, Oct 14, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — A new audit finds that Utah's criminal justice reforms passed in 2014 have failed to reduce the number of people who reoffend and end up back in prison.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports recidivism rates have increased since the Justice Reinvestment Initiative began. In 2018, the recidivism rate was 37%, a jump of 8% from 2013.

The reforms did achieve one of their two purposes in that the number of people being sent to prison has decreased.

Auditors reported the recidivism failure stems from the lack of oversight people received after being sentenced to community supervision instead of prison time.

The report says officials also failed to improve drug and mental health treatment, which has led to the number of "chronic drug offenders" in Utah to triple.

Suggested fixes to the Justice Reinvestment Initiative were offered in the report, including more funding at a local level and improving data collection to track treatment options that are working.