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Governor Ceremoniously Signs Criminal Justice Reforms

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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. 

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