SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The state of Utah, after passing significant sentencing and corrections reform legislation in House Bill 348 in March, has begun the process of ensuring the policy goals are achieved through effective implementation, coordination and collaboration.
With assistance from the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Crime and Justice Institute has begun a 3-year effort to provide technical assistance to various Utah agencies that are responsible for implementing components of the 220 page bill. Melissa Threadgill, Felicity Rose and Len Engel will lead the effort. All three were part of the team that assisted state political and criminal justice leaders over the past year in the passage of the bill and the development of the analysis that gave rise to the policy reforms.
The CJI team will provide assistance to:
- The Utah Department of Corrections as it implements a graduated sanctions and incentives program to assist in the supervision of probationers and parolees, and develops an earned discharge program that allows offenders to reduce their parole eligibility period and reduce the length of supervision when on parole through earned compliance credits;
- The Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice’s Implementation Task Force and Data and Research Working Group as the groups provide oversight of the entire statewide implementation process and track and analyze system-wide performance data;
- The Utah Sentencing Commission to develop and adopt a graduated sanctions matrix, a revocation guidelines matrix, reductions to the current sentencing guidelines terms and adjustments to the criminal history scoring matrix;
- The Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health to develop minimum treatment standards and a treatment vendor certification program to ensure treatment for offenders is effective; and
- The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole as it implements new guidelines for parole eligibility and for parole revocation decisions.
The Justice Reinvestment Initiative is a partnership of the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Pew Charitable Trusts to provide intensive technical assistance to assist states in developing data-driven criminal justice policy reforms, help states pass legislation to advance these reforms and assist as the state implements the reform. The implementation phase includes a significant data collection and analysis component designed to measure performance and outcomes of the reforms. The Crime and Justice Institute is one of four national organizations providing JRI assistance.