Criminal Justice Roundtable Discussion
Experts from around Utah gathered at BYU Law School for a roundtable discussion on barriers to a more efficient criminal justice system. Participants included Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, Utah State Senator Benjamin M. McAdams and Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman, among others. The major topics included: pre-trial release reform, effective reentry programs and community corrections programs. BYU Law Professor Shima Baradaran and Dan Medwed from University of Utah hosted the roundtable.
The discussion centered around the importance of establishing another pretrial release program in Utah, obtaining more funding for mental health and dr
ug treatment for defendants, and establishing partnerships with businesses and community organizations to provide greater access to reentry programs for inmates.
The group of criminal justice leaders also hope to formulate a correctional reform plan to present to the Budget Committee in the legislature that has a long-term preventative approach to criminal justice issues in Utah. This plan should consider all of the money spent on criminal justice issues in Utah and include a proposal of how best to allocate these funds. With a broad preventative plan that encourages treatment for recidivists and alternatives to incarceration, those who participated in the roundtable hope to cut costs to criminal justice, give low-risk defendants opportunities to retain employment and maintain public safety in the community.
"I believe the roundtable discussion was a success," Professor Baradaran said. "A success on a policy level can sometimes be reached by simply bringing all of the stake holders together. We not only did that but also reached some consensus about the importance of creating a long-term criminal justice plan for Utah and what the key elements of this plan are."
Posted:March 23, 2012