Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Governor Ceremoniously Signs Criminal Justice Reforms

Victor via Creative Commons

Utah Governor Gary Herbert ceremoniously signed the state’s sweeping criminal justice reforms into law on Thursday.

Marty Carpenter is the governor’s spokesperson. He says the goal of this legislation is to stop the revolving door that is the state’s corrections system. Carpenter says the status quo is not effective for taxpayers.

“Clearly the number one thing for us is public safety,” Carpenter says. “We want to make sure that those people who are dangerous to the community are behind bars. But for those who are dealing with other types of addictions and problems, we want to make sure they get the help they need so they can get back out and be productive members of our community.”

The legislation reserves prison beds for only the most violent offenders by dropping a simple drug possession charge from a felony to a misdemeanor and distribution charges from a second degree felony to a third. It also increases funding for programs that assist people with drug abuse and mental health issues.

The law takes effect this July. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.