Week ending Feb. 7, 2016

UTAH DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

Utah Corrections probe finds fault, orders changes in wake of cop-killer’s release by Bob Mims and Pamela Manson, The Salt Lake Tribune

“Utah Department of Corrections investigators have found communication and processing flaws contributed to the Board of Pardons and Parole’s decision to release a soon-to-be cop-killer to a low-security drug treatment program.”

UDC: Multiple errors led to release of fugitive who killed Officer Doug Barney by Daniel Woodruff, KUTV

“The Utah Department of Corrections says it is taking “corrective action” following an investigation that found multiple communication and process errors led to the release of a fugitive who shot and killed a Unified Police Officer.”

JUVENILE JUSTICE

Paradigm shift: Fewer Utah juvenile offenders are being treated as adults by McKenzie Romero, Deseret News

” At 19 years old, Meagan Grunwald has been behind bars for two years, passing all but 17 days of her time in adult facilities.”

Should Utah have ‘blended sentences’ for teen offenders certified as adults? by McKenzie Romero, Deseret News

“Aza Vidinhar was just 15 years old when he violently stabbed his two younger brothers to death. In the wake of the shocking crime, prosecutors were left to grapple with a daunting question.”

 

UTAH LEGISLATURE

New bill would allow sex offenders to get off registry soon by Aldo Vazquez, Good4Utah (KTVX)

“A new bill, which passed a committee hearing unanimously yesterday, would allow some sex offenders to get off the sex offender registry sooner, and it has many Utahns talking.”

UTAH BOARD OF PARDONS AND PAROLE

Audit suggests a slew of changes to improve Utah’s parole board by Jessica Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune

“Last year, the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole (BOP) made nearly 18,000 decisions — determining everything from release dates for prison inmates to setting conditions of release to responding when those conditions are violated.”

LAW ENFORCEMENT

Salt lake shooting victim was arrested 2 weeks earlier but was released when no charges were filed by Pat Reavy, Deseret News

“As the investigation into a weekend officer-involved shooting in Salt Lake City continued Monday, questions are being raised about whether the man who was shot should have even been on the street.”

OPINION

‘Ban the Box’ to give former felons a chance at bettering themselves by Sandra Hollins, The Salt Lake Tribune

“It’s a fact that many people do not like to address in their own communities — felons live among us. It is also a fact that felons have served time for their crimes, and through our newest investments in our justice system, often walk out of prison or jail with new life and job skills to help them make good choices for their future. But what happens when one of those people has worked so hard on the inside to improve his lot in life, only to find on the outside no one will hire him?”

New funding crucial in fight agains the opioid epidemic by President Barak Obama, The Salt Lake Tribune

“Last fall, I listened as a mother named Cary Dixon told her family’s story at a forum I convened in West Virginia. It was heartbreaking. Cary’s adult son has struggled with a substance use disorder for years, and she described the pain that families like hers have gone through. “We dread the next phone call,” she said. “We don’t take vacations for fear of the next crisis. We come back from vacations because there’s a crisis.”

In moving forward on criminal sentencing reform, California should remember its history by the Los Angeles Times

“What were the staples of ’70s cop movies and TV dramas? OK, sure — wide ties, floppy collars, sideburns and muscle cars. Maybe a disco soundtrack. But what else?”

Pendulum swings on sentencing by The Register-Guard (Oregon)

“Mandatory minimum prison sentences — the ostensible root cause of the standoff at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge — have been around since the nation’s early days. The pendulum is swinging against them now, in favor of giving judges more flexibility and reducing the burden on taxpayers.”

STORIES OF INTEREST

How Much Does Oregon Spend on Prisons by Lea Terry, Newsmax.com

“Oregon’s prisons are leading the way in the nation when it comes to reduced recidivism rates, but it comes at a high cost. Prison spending in the state was more than double higher education spending in 2013.”

Former CEO of Wells Fargo Advisors launches new program to reduce recidivism by Kelly Moffitt, St. Louis Public Radio

A new organization in St. Louis County seeks to help incarcerated adults transition into productive and healthy lives upon release from prison. The organization’s name is Concordance Academy and was founded by Danny Ludeman, the former CEO of Wells Fargo Advisors, and partners with Washington University’s Concordance Institute.”

Black behind bars by Patrick Yeagle, Illinois Times

“In 2013, one out of every 266 people in Illinois was in prison. For African-American residents, it was one in every 68 people.That’s just one of the shocking facts illustrating the serious racial disparity in Illinois’ criminal justice system. About 60 percent of the state’s prison population is black, despite African-American people making up only about 15 percent of the general population. At about 28,200 inmates, there are nearly twice as many black inmates in Illinois prisons as there are white inmates.”

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