UTAH

Utah reports big drop in juvenile kids serving time for low-level crimes

Jan 11, 2021, 6:43 AM
Murat Suljovic...
Murat Suljovic, from SLC, will spend the next 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to trying to help ISIS.  Photo: Getty Images

SALT LAKE CITY – The Juvenile Justice Services Division in Utah is reporting a 46% drop in kids detained for low-level crimes.  

Division Director Brett Peterson says Utah reformed its juvenile justice system three years ago. That means low-level offenders are being diverted into therapy and job training programs instead. 

Peterson believes throwing kids in jail for every crime has unintended consequences.

“When you introduce a youth into the formal justice system, they have worse mental health outcomes. They have worse physical health outcomes. They have worse educational outcomes. And, then, the big one: they re-offend at a higher rate,” Peterson said. 

In a new report, the state is recording a 26% reduction in risk to re-offend in long-term secure care populations. They also say there has been a 40% decrease in assaults in secure care facilities. 

On the other end, Utah is spending 19% more on early intervention programs, including in rural areas. 

“The earlier we can serve [at-risk kids], and we can serve them in their homes, in their schools, and in their communities, we get better outcomes,” Peterson said. “We also promote public safety.” 

It is not just the court system. Schools and parents can also refer kids for an early intervention. 

Peterson thinks there are some crimes that necessitate kids being locked up. However, there are many areas where the state has rethought the juvenile justice system. 

“Really honing our system, looking at the research and looking at the data, there are certain situations they should never be in [court],” Peterson said. “You will worsen the outcomes for this youth and the community.”

 

Today’s Top Stories

Utah

QAnon Utah race...
The Associated Press

Utah’s GOP Congressmen defeat primary challengers

Utah's four GOP congressmen win primary elections, move on to November's general election.
23 hours ago
Two people were injured in a two-vehicle crash Tuesday morning in Brigham City....
Mark Jones

Two people injured in Brigham City two-vehicle crash

Brigham City emergency personnel responded to a two-vehicle crash Tuesday morning that sent two people to the hospital.
23 hours ago
FILE - Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, addresses a crowd during a rally on April 25, 2014, in Sandy, Utah. T...
Mark Jones

Sen. Mike Lee fends off 2 opponents to win Utah GOP primary

Utah Sen. Mike Lee claimed a victory Tuesday night in the state's primary election, defeating two challengers.
23 hours ago
Gov. Spencer Cox announced Utah Court of Appeals Judge Jill M. Pohlman is his nominee to serve on t...
Mark Jones

Gov. Cox announces Utah Supreme Court nominee

Utah Court of Appeals Judge Jill M. Pohlman is Gov. Spencer Cox's Utah Supreme Court nominee as announced Tuesday.
23 hours ago
Remaining permits for elk and deer hunts this fall will be available to purchase in July....
Mark Jones

Remaining deer, elk permits can be purchased in July

Remaining deer and elk permits for hunts this fall will be available to purchase in July.
23 hours ago
A crowd gathers in front of the Utah State Capitol on Friday, June 24, 2022, to protest the U.S. Su...
Becky Bruce

Different abortion law now in effect in Utah

A different abortion law is now in effect in Utah, and it bans abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy. However, there are several exceptions to this law.
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Utah reports big drop in juvenile kids serving time for low-level crimes