The cogs of justice grind slowly in Salt Lake County — more than a month slower than most metropolitan counties nationwide, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. It takes an average of 160 days to dole out punishment for the typical wife-beater, home-invader, shoplifter, or other wrongdoer. That’s at least 33 days longer than the national average, says the U.S. Department of Justice. The delay soon could be shortened — by a lot.
Salt Lake County has a $745,000 grant through the federal stimulus program to speed up the process. The two-year effort aims to resolve up to a third of all criminal cases within 30 days. “We need to make sure we have swift and certain sanctions for [criminal] behavior,” said District Attorney Lohra Miller, “to change that behavior in the future.” Quicker adjudication could put less pressure on the jail population. It could mean more defendants showing up for court appearances and fewer the courts have to track down. It could lead to a lower recidivism rate by closing the gap between the punishment and the crime.