The state’s Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice will hold hearings in St. George, Salt Lake and Logan beginning next week to hear public views on how criminal justice policies should be changed to better serve former felons as they return to their communities.
The hearings are in response to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s call in January for a full review of the state’s correctional system to reduce recidivism by helping offenders become law-abiding citizens.
"The prison gates through which people re-enter society must be a permanent exit, and not just a revolving door," Herbert said during his State of the State address.
The commission also has advocated for such a review to be part of plans to build a new prison facility to replace the Utah State Prison in Draper.
In Utah, the recidivism rate is about 54 percent; one-third of admissions each year to the prison are former inmates who violated parole conditions. Another one-third are people who’ve failed court-ordered community probation.
The hearing schedule is as follows:
— St. George: March 27, 2-4 p.m., Washington County Council Chambers, 197 E. Tabernacle St.
— Salt Lake City: April 3, 2-4 p.m., Copper Room of the Senate Building at the Utah State Capitol, 350 N. State St.
— Logan: April 4, 1-3 p.m., Cache County Council Chambers, 199 N. Main Street
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