With a recidivism rate above the national average and a prison population expected to grow by 2,700 inmates in the next two decades, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and other state leaders are in the midst of a ground-up review of Utah's corrections policy, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. “We're calling on the foremost experts on public safety to create a new road map for our criminal-justice system,” Herbert said. “The prison gates must be a permanent exit from the system, not just a revolving door.”
Work began in March, when the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice enlisted the help of the Pew Charitable Trusts through the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, which has conducted similar work in two dozen states in the past seven years. Yesterday, Herbert and other leaders asked the commission and Pew to recommend changes to Utah's policies for dealing with inmates, probationers and parolees. “It will be fine-tuning. I'm not anticipating any dramatic overhaul of anything,” said commission director Ron Gordon. Inmates are staying behind bars 18 percent longer, about five months, than they were 10 years ago. How the state deals with those on probation and parole will be a major part of the work.