Report on improving corrections system aimed at reducing recidivism

Utah’s Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice (CCJJ) presented the governor with a series of recommendations this week aimed at increasing public safety while reducing recidivism rates that would save the taxpayer money.

Click here to read the report.

Here are a few things we know:

  • Our state’s prison population has grown by 18 percent in the last decade.
  • We now spend nearly $270 million on corrections annually.
  • Analysis from the Prison Relocation Commission shows that unless we make changes to current state policy, inmate growth alone will cost the state an additional $500 million over the next two decades.

Those are sobering facts.  And the governor is convinced there are ways we can get a better result for our money.

“This is not about being soft on crime, it’s about being smart on crime,” said Gov. Gary Herbert. “Utahns deserve a corrections system that is efficient and effective. To achieve that, we know we need to balance proper investment into public safety with the goal of helping those who have broken the law to ultimately become productive members of society.”

The numbers show that nearly half the people leaving our state prison system are back inside in three years’ time or less. We can do better. The prison gates must be a permanent exit, and not a revolving door.

We know that some of the lower-level nonviolent offenders entering prison are struggling with drug addiction and mental health problems that can be more cost-effectively addressed with intensive treatment and supervision.

Utah taxpayers are best served when we make our prison beds available for serious, violent offenders and invest resources into programs that help stop offenders from committing another crime. That means fewer victims and less taxpayer spending.

Click here to read the summary.