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It's April: What's New with the Prison Relocation?

04 May 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Plenty has been happening...so let's dive right in with some news on the prison relocation.  Has the New Prison Relocation/Development Commission Started to Meet Publicly? No.  No meeting set yet for the Prison Development (formerly Relocation) Commission. The last official public news was that the same five sites are still up for consideration - as presented in the February 27 PRC meeting - and that there is NO official ranking of those sites. The full presentation by MGT of America from that meeting is posted at the bottom of this post for your information. Does Any CONVENIENTLY Located City Want the Prison? Also No.

Wrapping up the Legislative Session: Criminal Justice "odds & ends"

07 April 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Here it is, friends, your final installment of select(ed) information from the 2015 legislative session, related to criminal justice reform.

Criminal Justice Re-cap of 2015 Session: Part 3!

23 March 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Almost there, friends, almost there. This is the 3rd of 4 installments, updating you about mostly good (but some not-so-good) stuff that happened in the area of criminal justice reform during the legislative session. 

Criminal Justice Re-cap of 2015 Session: Part 1!

19 March 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Going through my notes from the legislative session, I am thrilled to report that there was a TON of progress (and, in a few cases, a little backsliding) in many areas of criminal justice reform.

Criminal Justice Re-cap of 2015 Session: Part 2!

19 March 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
As promised, we re-visit the Legislative Session again today for more news on exciting progress (and some regression, as is the nature of things) in Utah's criminal justice system! 

And all we're talking about is the firing squad?

10 March 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Besides the firing squad, the prison relocation conversation keeps the spotlight squarely trained on what happens behind bars in Utah - and that is a GOOD thing!

Wait a minute! That's not the reform we approved...

02 March 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
You may have heard, Rep. Eric Hutchings' criminal justice reform bill - HB 348, "Criminal Justice Programs and Amendments" passed its latest hurdle (House committee hearing) with flying colors!

Top 10 Reasons to Support the ACLU of Utah

22 February 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Reason #10: Defending the Impoverished   Being poor shouldn’t mean that you are at a disadvantage when facing criminal charges, but too often, it does.  The system for providing criminal defense to people who can’t afford a lawyer in Utah is fundamentally flawed, and county-by-county we fall short of what the Constitution requires. We fight for a well-designed and well-funded system of indigent defense in Utah, just as the Constitution of the United States requires. Reason #9: Pushing for Criminal Justice Reform Over 2.3 million people are in American prisons – over half of these for nonviolent crimes. The ACLU of Utah is working on the front lines of criminal justice reform that will dramatically decrease unnecessary incarceration, diminishing the tremendous human cost and financial cost to society. Reason #8: Expanding the Right to Vote for All The ACLU of Utah has worked tirelessly at the Utah State Legislature to protect voting rights in Utah. Last year, we successfully passed legislation establishing a pilot program for election-day registration in counties representing 74% of Utah’s population. We will continue our work to ensure that the right to vote is only expanded and never curtailed. Reason #7: Protecting our Privacy The ACLU…

It’s Time for True Non-Discrimination Protection For All Utahns

22 February 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Recently, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that it would support efforts to increase protections for members of the LGBT community in areas such as employment and housing.  This is an important step forward in recognizing that our laws need to ensure that all people- regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity- are treated fairly and protected by the law.

ACLU of Utah Critical of Utah’s Acting As Plaintiff in Lawsuit Seeking to Overturn Relief for Immigrants

22 February 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
This article was first published in the Liberty Reporter: 2015 Winter Newsletter >> The ACLU of Utah is extremely disappointed that the name of the State of Utah has been lent as a plaintiff to a lawsuit that seeks the deportation of “Dreamers” and the parents of United States citizens and legal permanent residents.  Specifically, the suit seeks to force an end to programs known as DACA, which grants relief to certain immigrants who arrived to the United States as children, and DAPA, which grants relief to immigrant parents of United States citizens and legal permanent residents.   The decision for Utah to join this lawsuit directly contradicts the spirit of the Utah Compact and fails to live up to our shared Utah values that treasure children and family togetherness.  In the Utah Compact, signed in 2010, hundreds of community, business and religious leaders committed to several guiding principles in approaching immigration issues, including:  Families: Stating opposition to policies that unnecessarily separate families. Economy: Recognition of the economic role of immigrants. Advocates support of free market policies to maximize individual freedom and opportunity. A Free Society: Recognition that immigrants are part of society. States the need for a “humane approach…

Criminal Justice Update: Drugs, Drugs and More Drugs

19 February 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
This was a big week for criminal justice reform at the state capitol!

As Promised: Prison Relocation (and more)

18 February 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
So is prison relocation REALLY connected to criminal justice reform? Probably, in terms of behind-the-scenes politicking. But ALSO in more nuanced way.

From the Capitol to the Streets: Let's Reform the Police

11 February 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Recent incidents from New York City to Ferguson to Salt Lake City and Saratoga Springs highlight the growing perception that something is dreadfully wrong with our policing systems. 

Latest news: Prison relocation and justice reinvestment!

04 February 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
The big question at the legislature...Will they or won't they?

Criminal Justice on the Hill (part two)

28 January 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
As promised, for those of you who can't get enough of the legislative process, here are a few more big criminal justice issues to keep an eye on up here at the Capitol until March 12.

Criminal Justice at the Capitol (part one)

26 January 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Welcome to the 2015 Utah Legislative Session, everyone! The Session officially kicked off yesterday, mainly with ceremonies and networking. And this first week will see mostly appropriations meetings (budgets for various agencies will be presented), with some committee meetings in the afternoons.

Op-ed: Changing the prison more important than moving it

11 January 2015 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
By now, we’ve all seen the buttons, the hand signs, the T-shirts: “No Prison In (Insert Your Community Here).”

Mutually Reinforcing: Mass Incarceration and the School-to-Prison Pipeline

30 November 2014 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
Current criminal justice and education policies and practices have led to the United States to incarcerate more people than any other country, with disturbing racial inequity.

First Hurdle Cleared: Justice Reinvestment Recommendations Sail Out of CCJJ!

16 November 2014 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist
After months and months of endless meetings, the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice (CCJJ) deserved a big pat on the back last week.

"De-felonizing" Drug Possession: The Sky Will Not Fall

05 November 2014 Published in Prison Relocation & Justice Reinvestment in Utah
It wasn't MEANT to be the biggest announcement during the Prison Relocation Commission meeting on October 22.